Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word 2016

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word 2016

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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: 

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 add or edit text in a document in Word 2016

Use a screen reader to align text and paragraphs in Word 2016

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word 2016 for 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 2016 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

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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