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How Many Spaces Should You Use In Your Documents?

Compelling writing requires creativity and intelligence. Writers often spend hours deciding on exactly the right word to use or a suitable quotation to include. However, they often neglect the importance of the visual appearance of their documents. For example, spacing plays an important role in establishing credibility with your readers.



There are no set rules regarding the line spacing of documents. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent. It looks very unprofessional to read a document that contains some single-spaced paragraphs, interspersed with double-spaced ones. Once you decide on a spacing style, make sure to continue with it for the remainder of your entire document.


Online Documents

Most online documents contain single-spaced short paragraphs separated by one blank line. The standard is to break the paragraphs up with headings and subheadings. Single spacing takes up less space and is the preferred option if you are writing online text.


Legal Documents

The general rule is that legal documents should always be double-spaced. You can easily adjust the spacing in your document if you are using a version of MS Word. Just select the "format" and then "paragraph" options. You can then select the appropriate line spacing from the line spacing drop down box. Some people prefer to use single-spacing. However, you should check beforehand because some court rules require all legal documents to be double-spaced.


Dissertation & Thesis Research Papers

Graduate students should also use double spacing when they write their dissertations. This makes it easier for professors to make comments on the text. It also improves the readability factor for documents that are often very technical and complex. Another reason may be that it speeds up the process. For example, several studies have revealed that readers are able to process more words in a faster period of time when documents are double-spaced.