How to stop Microsoft Word from double-spacing everything

I get asked this a lot. Microsoft changed how Word initially works a version or two ago, and here I explain (with screenshots from Word 2016) what’s going on.

One feature of Word that new users tend to ignore is its “styles” function. Initially, Word uses the “Normal” style, but lots of other styles are available, for example the “No Spacing” style. To choose a style, just click it on the “Home” tab:

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You can see that the “Normal” style has double-spaced my address, which is what many people don’t like and want to change. Things look fine in the “No Spacing” style – so one solution is to click the “No Spacing” style when you start a new document and before you start typing anything. This will select the “No Spacing” style for the entire document (unless you later change the style of parts of the document).

But is this really what you want? Let’s click the “View/Hide” button to see the paragraph markers:

Viewing the paragraph marks

The paragraph marks are inserted when I press the ENTER key to finish a paragraph. They don’t print out, and (unless I click the view/hide button) they are not shown on screen.

You can see that, in “No Spacing” style, I have to press ENTER twice – paragraphs have to separated with two paragraph marks. So now maybe I prefer the “Normal” style … that is why Microsoft changed it.

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Really, what I’d like is “Normal” for most of the document, but “No Spacing” for my address. Well, I can do that. Start by typing the document, and don’t worry about style. Word starts in the Normal style, so – as I haven’t changed it – that’s what mu document will use:

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Now I want to sort out the address. First I highlight it with the mouse:

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Then I click the “No Spacing” style:

No spacing for the address

And then move it to the right with the “Align Right” button:

Move the address to the right

Looks great. Job done.

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But, if you really want to, you can change Word so that the the Normal style doesn’t add space after paragraphs, just like Word used to be. This does mean you will have the insert (by typing ENTER) an extra line between paragraphs. Here’s how to change it:

Right-click the “Normal” style, and then click “Modify”
Then click “Format”
Then “Paragraph”
Then change “Spacing After” to zero, and click “OK”


Finally, select the setting that says “New documents based on this template” – this will apply the change to all new documents. Then click “OK”.