Use a screen reader to set paragraph spacing and indents in Word 2016

Give your document a polished appearance by making paragraphs look the way you want. In Word 2016, you can set the amount of space before and after each paragraph and the size of its indents via the Indents and Spacing tab of the Paragraph dialog.

Note: The procedures in this topic are documented using Narrator and JAWS. For information about how to work with a specific screen reader, contact your assistive technology (AT) manufacturer.

Note: This topic assumes that JAWS users have turned off the Virtual Ribbon Menu feature.

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. 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

More information

Get help for using a screen reader with Word 2016

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows

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