Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Quickly Adjusting Paragraph Spacing.

Quickly Adjusting Paragraph Spacing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 14, 2015)

1

One of the finishing touches that many people need to apply to their documents is to precisely adjust the spacing between their paragraphs to achieve a desired look. Word provides quite a bit of control over the spacing between paragraphs. You do this by adjusting the Before and After values in the Paragraph dialog box.

If you do quite a bit of adjusting space before or after a paragraph, it can become tedious to continually display the Paragraph dialog box and make the adjustments. Unfortunately, Word does not include any keyboard shortcuts that allow you to adjust this type of spacing quickly. You can, however, achieve an equivalent ease-of-use by developing your own macros.

For instance, the following macros will adjust the space after a paragraph by a single point.

Sub SAPlus()
   Dim SA As Integer
   SA = Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceAfter + 1
   If SA > 1584 Then SA = 1584
   Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceAfter = SA
End Sub

Notice that the macro only allows you to increase the space after a paragraph to 1584 points. This is because this is the maximum value allowed by Word; a higher value would generate an error. A slight variation on the macro results in one for decreasing space after a paragraph:

Sub SAMinus()
   Dim SA As Integer
   SA = Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceAfter – 1
   If SA < 0 Then SA = 0
   Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceAfter = SA
End Sub

Note that these macros could easily be modified to use some other value or formula for calculating the increment or decrement for spacing. For instance, you could add or subtract 6 points at a time, if desired. You could also change the macros so they apply to the space before a paragraph by simply changing every occurrence of "after" to "before."

The final trick to make these macros really useful is to assign them to a keyboard combination or buttons on the toolbar. You can do this using information provided in other issues of WordTips.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1669) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Quickly Adjusting Paragraph Spacing.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Repaginating in a Macro

When creating a macro that extensively processes a document, you may need to periodically force Word to repaginate the ...

Discover More

Printing a Document's Mirror Image

If you need to print the mirror image (backwards) of a document, you may think you are out of luck in Word. There are ...

Discover More

Goal Seeking

Excel provides a great tool that is helpful in figuring out what certain variables should be in your formulas. This tip ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Searching for Paragraph Formatting

You can use the Find and Replace capabilities of Word to search for a wide variety of information. One thing you can look for ...

Discover More

Understanding Leading

Those with a publishing, typographic, or design background may understand what leading is, but not how to adjust the setting ...

Discover More

Adding Tabs at the Beginning of a Line

Press a tab at the beginning of a paragraph, and Word normally assumes you want to indent the paragraph. If you don't like ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 1?

2016-03-12 20:30:52

duane

Great idea. This has bugged me years, but I've just lived with it (using a combination of style and format painter as weak attempts). Thanks a lot.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.