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: Creating Thin Spaces.

Creating Thin Spaces

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 30, 2014)

2

Word does not include a feature to automatically create "thin spaces." Some people require a space that is narrower (thinner) than the regular space, to place just a small amount of space between items on a line.

The workaround is to use a regular space, and then format that space (and only that space) to a point size smaller than what is used for the surrounding text. This requires some trial and error to get the appearance just as you like it. The drawback to this approach is that if you use justified text, Word automatically adjusts the width of the spaces on a line to fit the overall goal of justifying both margins. This, of course, defeats your purpose.

You can also use non-breaking spaces, and then format them to a smaller point size. Non-breaking spaces are not "resized" by Word when justifying text.

A final option is to adjust the character spacing before and after the item that you want to include additional space. This does not add a real "thin space," but instead instructs Word to "space out" the items. This is done by following these steps:

  1. Select the item (such as an em dash) together with the space before and after it.
  2. Press Ctrl+D. Word displays the Font dialog box.
  3. Make sure Character Spacing tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Character Spacing tab of the Font dialog box.

  5. In the Spacing drop-down list, select Condensed or Expanded, depending on your needs.
  6. Using the By setting to the right of the Spacing drop-down list, indicate how much you want spacing condensed or expanded.
  7. Click on OK to close the dialog box.

Again, this approach may take a bit of trial and error on your part to get the desired effect.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1812) 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: Creating Thin Spaces.

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

Changing the Bullet Type

When you apply bullet formatting to paragraphs, Word allows you to choose from a variety of different bullets. If you want, ...

Discover More

Inserting a Sound File in Your Worksheet

Some worksheets are better understood through the spoken word or with musical accompaniment. Sound files can be easily ...

Discover More

Understanding Font Styles

Fonts, by default, come with one or more styles that define variations of how that font is displayed in your document. ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Adding a Little Color

The normal way to change the color of selected text is through the use of the Font Color tool. If you have to use the same ...

Discover More

Missing Fonts in a Letterhead

When you create a document (such as a letterhead) that you want multiple people to use, you need to be concerned with whether ...

Discover More

Discovering the RGB Value of a Custom Text Color

Word allows you to easily change the color of the text in your document. If you get a document from someone else, you may ...

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 4 - 3?

2017-10-02 10:39:53

Ray B

Thanks, a useful tip for large numbers.


2012-04-22 22:38:43

Mike James

I have just come across this post, and thought I might be able to help in the matter of adding a thin space in Word.

The European Commission's Style Guide recommends using Alt+8201; it works for me.


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.