Line Spacing

Line Spacing

Most editors request that writers submit work to them using double line spacing, this means that between every line of print there is a blank line. The advantage of this is that there is space to hand write notes on the work if needed.

On a personal note I have also found that editing my own work is dramatically easier if I have printed it out in double or 1.5 spacing for the same reason, more space for comments.

If writers guidelines don’t mention the line spacing required by the publisher I would automatically use 1.5 or double. In doing so it shows knowledge of the industry requirements, but also respect for the editor’s eyes (no writer would want to be known as the one that gave the editor eye strain).

If you’re using Microsoft Word, there are several ways to alter the line spacing. Of these I have always found the one below most straight forward, especially if you’re unused to the process. It involves you typing your work first, highlighting the work you want to alter and the selecting the line spacing that you are after.
How to highlight your writing
  1. Place your cursor at the beginning of the section you wish to highlight (which in this case is also the section you want to alter the line spacing of).  
  2. Click down and, with your finger still down, drag the cursor to the end of the work you want to alter. When you get to the end, lift your finger.  
  3. This should change the background colour of your work, effectively highlighting it.
Alternatively if you want the whole of your document highlighted simple click on the EDIT button at the top of the page and then select ‘Select All’.
How to alter line spacing
Once your work is highlighted:  
  1. Click on the FORMAT drop down menu at the top of your MS Word window.   
  2. From the list that drops down select ‘Paragraph’.  
  3. In the window that opens, you’ll find a heading that says SPACING.  
  4. A little to the right of this you’ll find a window labelled LINE SPACING.   
  5. Click the arrow to the right of this and select 1.5 or 2, depending on what you want.
  6. Click the OK button.

It’s also possible to put the line spacing icon in the toolbar at the top of your screen. This will mean that you always have the icon on your page and within easy reach.

How to add the line spacing icon to your screen
  1. Click on the TOOLS drop down menu.  
  2. From the list that drops down click on CUSTOMIZE.  
  3. In the window that appears there are two columns, click on EDIT in the left one.  
  4. In the column on the right, scroll down until you find the LINE SPACING icon.  
  5. Click on it and drag the icon to the top of your MS Word window - next to the other icons on your screen. Make sure that when you take your finger off the cursor it’s within the toolbar frame. If you let go whilst you are outside the toolbar the icon will return to the CUSTOMIZE window.

Once you have the icon on your toolbar it will negate your need to use the drop down FORMAT menu. However you will still need to highlight your writing.
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