Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

This article is for people who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use Word 2016 with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to change the spacing and indents of paragraphs and give your documents a polished appearance.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word on Windows.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader, Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, go to Complete guide to Narrator.

  • This topic makes note of the JAWS functionality as well. To learn more about JAWS for Windows, go to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

In this topic

Set paragraph spacing

  1. Open the document, and then select the paragraph you want to set spacing for. If you want to set the paragraph spacing for the entire document, press Ctrl+A.

  2. Press Alt+H, P, G. Word 2016 places the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab of the Paragraph dialog box. You'll hear the name of the dialog box.

  3. To set the spacing before a paragraph, press Alt+B. In the Before box, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys until you hear the point value you want, or type the point value you want (for example, 6 or 18). (Smaller point values represent less space.)

    Note: Narrator might voice "Unknown key" as you use the Up or Down Arrow keys to browse point values.

  4. To set the spacing after a paragraph, press Alt+F. In the After box, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys until you hear the point selection you want, or type the point value you want (for example, 6 or 18).

  5. To close the Paragraph dialog box, press the Tab key several times to go to the OK button and then press Spacebar. The focus returns to your document.

More options for spacing

  • To set a paragraph spacing as your default spacing, do the following:

    1. After you have made your spacing selection on the Indents and Spacing tab, press ALT+D.

    2. In the Microsoft Word dialog box, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select either the This document only or the All documents option, press the Tab key several times to go to the OK button, and then press Enter.

  • To quickly set line spacing for a selected paragraph in Word, do the following:

    1. On the Indents and Spacing tab, press Alt+N.

    2. In the Line spacing list, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select from a list of frequently used line-spacing sizes.

Set paragraph indents

  1. Open the document, and then select the paragraph you want to set indents for. If you want to set the paragraph spacing for the entire document, press Ctrl+A.

  2. Press Alt+H, P+G. Word places the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab of the Paragraph dialog box.

  3. To set the size of the left indent, press Alt+L. In the Left box, to set the value you want, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys or type the value (for example, .25 or .5).

  4. To set the size of the right indent, press Alt+R. In the Right box, to set the value you want, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys or type the value (for example, .25 or .5).

  5. To exit the Paragraph dialog box, press the Tab key several times to go to the OK button and then press Spacebar.

More options for setting indents

  • To set any indent you select as your default indent, do the following:

    1. After you have made your selection in the Paragraph dialog box, press Alt+D.

    2. In the Microsoft Word dialog box, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select either the This document only or the All documents option, press the Tab key several times to go to the OK button, and then press Enter.

  • For book-style printing, use the Mirror Indent feature, in which the Left and Right indents mirror each other, with one indent specified as Inside and the other indent specified as Outside. After you have made your indents selection on the Indents and Spacing tab, press Alt+M to select the Mirror Indents check box.

  • To quickly add a first line indent to just one paragraph, move the focus to the beginning of the first line of the paragraph and then press the Tab key. With a first line indent, the first line of a paragraph is indented more than the other lines in the paragraph.

Keyboard shortcuts to set paragraph spacing and indents

The following table summarizes handy keyboard shortcuts to use when setting spacing and indents for paragraphs.

To do this

Press this

Open the Indents and Spacing tab of the Paragraph dialog box

Alt+H, P+G

Set spacing before

Alt+B

Set spacing after

Alt+F

Set left indent

Alt+L

Set right indent

Alt+R

Set selected spacing or indent as default

Alt+D

Set line spacing

Alt+N

Select Mirror Indent

Alt+M

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to align text and paragraphs in Word

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word on Windows

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Word using accessible features

Use Word 2016 for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to give your document a polished appearance by making paragraphs look the way you want.

You can set the amount of space before and after each paragraph and the size of its indents. You can also create an indent only in the first line of a paragraph, or create a hanging indent, in which the first line of the paragraph is not indented, but subsequent lines are.

Notes: 

In this topic

Set paragraph spacing

  1. In your document, select the paragraphs for which you want to set the spacing.

    Tip: To select a piece of text, hold down Shift and move the cursor using the arrow keys.

  2. To format a paragraph, press Option+Command+M. The Paragraph dialog opens, with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  3. Use the options in Spacing group to do one of the following:

    • To set the spacing before a paragraph, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear the current spacing size and "Before, edit text."

    • To set the spacing after a paragraph, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear the current spacing size and "After, edit text."

    In the Before or After fields, type a point value, for example, 6 or 18 (smaller point values represent less space).

  4. To close the Paragraph dialog box and return to your document, press Enter.

Set line spacing

  1. To change the line spacing of a paragraph, select the paragraph you want to format, and press Option+Command+M to open the Paragraph dialog box.

  2. To select a line spacing option, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Line spacing," followed by a line spacing option. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the options list. Then use the Up or Down arrow keys until you hear the line spacing option you want. To select, press Spacebar.

  3. If you select a customizable option, such as Multiple, to set the spacing size, press Tab. You hear the current spacing size and "At." Then type a value.

Set paragraph indents

Indent only the first line of a paragraph

  1. Select the paragraphs in which you want to indent the first line of the paragraph.

  2. To format a paragraph, press Option+Command+M. The Paragraph dialog opens, with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  3. To indent the first line of the paragraph, use the options in Indentation group. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Special, pop-up button." To select an option press Control+Option+Spacebar. Then use the Up or Down arrow keys until you hear: "First line." To select, press Spacebar.

  4. To set the first line indentation size, press Tab. You hear the current indentation size and "By." Then type a value in inches, for example, 0.5.

  5. To return to your document, press Enter.

Note: All subsequent paragraphs that you type will be indented.

Indent all but the first line of a paragraph

  1. Select the paragraph in which you want to indent all but the first line of the paragraph (hanging indent).

  2. To format a paragraph, press Option+Command+M. The Paragraph dialog opens, with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  3. To create a hanging indent, use the options in Indentation group. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Special, pop-up button." To select an option, press Control+Option+Spacebar. Then use the Up or Down arrow keys until you hear: "Hanging." To select, press Spacebar.

  4. To set the indentation size, press Tab. You hear the current indentation size and "By." Then type the value in inches, for example, 0.5.

  5. To return to your document, press Enter.

Increase or decrease the indent of an entire paragraph

  1. In your document, select the paragraphs for which you want to increase or decrease the left or right indent.

  2. To format a paragraph, press Option+Command+M. The Paragraph dialog opens, with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  3. Use the options in Indentation group to do one of the following:

    • To modify indent from the left margin, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Before text."

    • To modify indent from the right margin, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "After text."

    To set the indentation size, type a number in inches. The indentation size is announced.

  4. To return to your document, press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to share a document in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word for Mac

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Word using accessible features

Use Word for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to change the spacing of paragraphs and lines.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to Use keyboard shortcuts in Word for iPhone.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • This topic assumes that you are using an iPhone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an iPad.

  • We recommend you read and edit documents in Print Layout View. VoiceOver may not work reliably in other view modes.

In this topic

Set paragraph spacing

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose spacing you want to set.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Show ribbon," and double-tap the screen. You hear the name of the current ribbon tab.

  3. To select the Home ribbon tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting button,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • To add space before the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Add space before paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To add space after the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Add space after paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To remove space before the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Remove space before paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To remove space after the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Remove space after paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

Note: You can only switch space before and after a paragraph on or off, so the option to add space is only available if there is no space before or after a paragraph already and the option to remove space is only available if there is currently space before or after a paragraph.

Set line spacing

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose line spacing you want to set.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Show ribbon," and double-tap the screen. You hear the name of the current ribbon tab.

  3. To select the Home ribbon tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting button,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Line spacing button,” and double-tap the screen.

  6. Keep swiping right to go through the available line spacing values: 1.0, 1.15, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0. When you hear the desired value, double tap the screen to set the line spacing.

Set paragraph indents

Indent only the first line of a paragraph

  1. In your document, select the paragraph you want to indent.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Show ribbon," and double-tap the screen. You hear the name of the current ribbon tab.

  3. To select the Home ribbon tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting button,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Special indent button,” and double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear “First line button,” and double-tap the screen.

Indent all but the first line of a paragraph

  1. In your document, select the paragraph you want to indent.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Show ribbon," and double-tap the screen. You hear the name of the current ribbon tab.

  3. To select the Home ribbon tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting button,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Special indent button,” and double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear “Hanging button,” and double-tap the screen.

Increase or decrease the indent of an entire paragraph

  1. In your document, select the paragraph you want to indent.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Show ribbon," and double-tap the screen. You hear the name of the current ribbon tab.

  3. To select the Home ribbon tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To increase the indent, swipe right until you hear “Increase indent position,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To decrease the indent, swipe right until you hear “Decrease indent position,” and double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Word using accessible features

Use Word for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to change the spacing of paragraphs and lines.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For touch capabilities in Word for Android, go to Word for Android touch guide

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with an Android phone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an Android tablet.

In this topic

Set paragraph spacing

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose spacing you want to format.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Not checked, more options switch," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To select the Home tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting menu,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • To add space before the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Add space before paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To add space after the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Add space after paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To remove space before the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Remove space before paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To remove space after the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Remove space after paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

Note: You can only switch space before and after a paragraph on or off, so the option to add space is only available if there is no space before or after a paragraph already and the option to remove space is only available if there is currently space before or after a paragraph.

Set line spacing

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose spacing you want to format.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Not checked, more options switch," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To select the Home tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting menu,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Line spacing combo box,” and double-tap the screen.

  6. Keep swiping right to go through the available line spacing values: 1.0, 1.15, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0. When you hear the desired value, double tap the screen to set the line spacing.

Set paragraph indents

Indent only the first line of a paragraph

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose spacing you want to format.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Not checked, more options switch," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To select the Home tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting menu,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Special indent menu,” and double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear “First line, not checked, switch,” and double-tap the screen.

Indent all but the first line of a paragraph

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose spacing you want to format.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Not checked, more options switch," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To select the Home tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting menu,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Special indent menu,” and double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear “Hanging, not checked, switch,” and double-tap the screen.

Increase or decrease the indent of an entire paragraph

  1. In your document, select the paragraph you want to indent.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To increase the indent, swipe right until you hear “Increase indent button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To decrease the indent, swipe right until you hear “Decrease indent button,” and double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Word using accessible features

Use Word Mobile with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to change the spacing of paragraphs and lines.

Notes: 

In this topic

Set paragraph spacing

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph whose spacing you want to set.

  2. Swipe up or down with one finger until you hear: “Items.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Command palette, more options button," and double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting button,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • To add space before the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Add space before paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To add space after the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Add space after paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To remove space before the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Remove space before paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To remove space after the paragraph, swipe right until you hear “Remove space after paragraph button,” and double-tap the screen.

Note: You can only switch space before and after a paragraph on or off, so the option to add space is only available if there is no space before or after a paragraph already and the option to remove space is only available if there is currently space before or after a paragraph.

Set line spacing

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph whose line spacing you want to set.

  2. Swipe up or down with one finger until you hear: “Items.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Command palette, more options button," and double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting button,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Line spacing button,” and double-tap the screen.

  6. Keep swiping right to go through the available line spacing values: 1.0, 1.15, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0. When you hear the desired value, double tap the screen to set the line spacing.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use keyboard shortcuts with an external keyboard in Word Mobile for Windows 10

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Learn how to navigate Word using accessible features

Use Word Online with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to change the spacing and indents of paragraphs and give your documents a polished appearance.

Notes: 

  • If you use Narrator with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you have to turn off scan mode in order to edit documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with Office Online. For more information, refer to Turn off virtual or browse mode in screen readers in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader, Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, go to Complete guide to Narrator.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

  • When you use Word Online, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Word Online runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Word Online.

In this topic

Set paragraph and line spacing

  1. Open the document, and then select the paragraph you want to set spacing for by moving the insertion point to the beginning of the paragraph and pressing Shift+Ctrl+Down arrow key. If you want to set the paragraph spacing for the entire document, press Ctrl+A.

  2. Press Alt+Windows logo key, and then press H, P, G. Word Online places the focus on the Paragraph dialog box. You hear the name of the dialog box.

  3. To set the spacing before a paragraph, press the Tab key until you hear: "Spacing before." Use the Up arrow and Down arrow keys until you hear the point value you want, or type the point value you want (for example, 6 or 18). (Smaller point values represent less space.)

    Note: Narrator might voice "Unknown key" as you use the Up or Down arrow keys to browse point values

  4. To set the spacing after a paragraph, press the Tab key until you hear: "Spacing after." Use the Up arrow and Down arrow keys until you hear the point selection you want, or type the point value you want (for example, 6 or 18).

  5. To set line spacing for a selected paragraph, press the Tab key until you hear: "Line spacing." Use the Up arrow and Down arrow keys to select from a list of frequently used line-spacing sizes.

  6. To close the Paragraph dialog box, press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and then press Spacebar. The focus returns to your document.

Set paragraph indents

  1. Open the document, and then select the paragraph you want to set indents for by moving the insertion point to the beginning of the paragraph and pressing Shift+Ctrl+Down arrow key. If you want to set the paragraph indentation for the entire document, press Ctrl+A.

  2. Press Alt+Windows logo key, and then press H, P, G. Word Online places the focus on the Paragraph dialog box. You hear the name of the dialog box.

  3. To set the size of the left indent, press the Tab key until you hear: "Indentation before text." To set the value you want, use the Up arrow and Down arrow keys or type the value (for example, .25 or .5).

  4. To set the size of the right indent, press the Tab key until you hear: "Indentation after text." To set the value you want, use the Up arrow and Down arrow keys or type the value (for example, .25 or .5).

  5. To exit the Paragraph dialog box, press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and then press Spacebar.

  6. To add a first line indent to a paragraph, move the focus to the beginning of the first line of the paragraph and then press the Tab key. With a first line indent, the first line of a paragraph is indented more than the other lines in the paragraph.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Learn how to navigate Word using accessible features

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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