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 with visual impairments 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 with your keyboard and a screen reader to give your document a polished appearance by making paragraphs look the way you want. We have tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to set the amount of space before and after each paragraph and the size of its indents 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.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • When using Narrator, your keyboard will default to the Standard layout. To change this in the Narrator settings, press the Windows logo key+Ctrl+N. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Select keyboard layout, Standard." To change the layout to Legacy, press the Down arrow key once. You hear: "Legacy, selected." The new Narrator commands will not be available in the Legacy keyboard layout if keystrokes for legacy commands conflict with those used in new Narrator features.

  • 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. To set the spacing before a paragraph, press Alt+P, SB. You hear: "Paragraph, Spacing Before." Use the Up and Down arrow keys until you hear the point value you want, or type the point value you want (for example, 6 or 18), and then press Enter. Smaller point values represent less space.

  3. To set the spacing after a paragraph, press Alt+P, SA. You hear: "Paragraph, Spacing After." Use the Up and Down arrow keys until you hear the point value you want, or type the point value you want (for example, 6 or 18), and then press Enter.

More options for spacing

  • To quickly set line spacing for a selected paragraph in Word, press Alt+H, K. You hear: "Line and paragraph spacing." Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select from a list of frequently used line-spacing sizes, and press Enter to apply it.

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

    1. In your document, select some text that has the paragraph spacing that you want to apply as the default spacing.

    2. To open the Paragraph dialog, press Alt+H, PG.

    3. To set the paragraph spacing as the default, press Alt+D.

    4. In the Microsoft Word dialog box, use the Up and Down arrow keys to select either the This document only or the All documents option, press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and then press Enter.

    5. To close the Paragraph dialog, press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and then press Enter.

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 indent for the entire document, press Ctrl+A.

  2. To set the size of the left indent, press Alt+P, IL. You hear: "Paragraph, Indent Left." Use the Up and Down arrow keys or type the value (for example, .25 or .5), and then press Enter.

  3. To set the size of the right indent, press Alt+P, IR. You hear: "Paragraph, Indent Right." Use the Up and Down arrow keys or type the value (for example, .25 or .5), and then press Enter.

More options for setting indents

  • 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.

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

    1. In your document, select some text that has the paragraph indent that you want to apply as the default indent.

    2. To open the Paragraph dialog, press Alt+H, PG.

    3. To set the paragraph indent as the default, press Alt+D.

    4. In the Microsoft Word dialog, use the Up and Down arrow keys to select either the This document only or the All documents option, press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and then press Enter.

    5. To close the Paragraph dialog, press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and then press Enter.

  • For book-style printing, use the Mirror Indent feature, in which the paragraph indents mirror each other on facing pages. The left indent becomes the Inside indent, and the right indent becomes the Outside indent. To enable Mirror Indent:

    1. In your document, select some text that has the paragraph indent that you want to mirror on facing pages.

    2. To open the Paragraph dialog, press Alt+H, PG.

    3. To enable mirror indents, press Alt+M.

    4. To close the Paragraph dialog, press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and then press Enter.

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

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use Word 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

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

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

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

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

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

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 "More options," and double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe left until you hear the current tab, and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe left or right until you hear "Home," and then double-tap the screen.

  6. On the Home tab, swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting,” and double-tap the screen.

  7. Do one of the following:

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

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

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

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

  4. Swipe left until you hear the current tab, and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe left or right until you hear "Home," and then double-tap the screen.

  6. On the Home tab, swipe right until you hear “Paragraph formatting,” and double-tap the screen.

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

  8. Keep swiping right to go through the available line spacing values. 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

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use Word Online with a screen reader to give your document a polished appearance by making paragraphs look the way you want. We have tested it with Narrator, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to set the amount of space before and after each paragraph and the size of its indents and lines.

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.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • 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. To set the spacing before a paragraph, press Alt+Windows logo key, and then press P, SB. You hear: "Spacing before." Use the Up and Down arrow keys until you hear the point value you want, or type the point value you want (for example, 6 or 18), and then press Enter. Smaller point values represent less space.

  3. To set the spacing after a paragraph, press Alt+Windows logo key, and then press P, SA. You hear: "Spacing after." Use the Up and Down arrow keys until you hear the point value you want, or type the point value you want (for example, 6 or 18), and then press Enter.

  4. To set line spacing for a selected paragraph, press Alt+Windows logo key, and then press H, 02. You hear: "Line spacing." Press Enter, then use the Up and Down arrow keys to select from a list of frequently used line-spacing sizes, and press Enter to apply it.

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. To set the size of the left indent, press Alt+Windows logo key, P, IL. You hear: "Indent Left." To set the value you want, use the Up and Down arrow keys or type the value (for example, .25 or .5), and then press Enter.

  3. To set the size of the right indent, press Alt+Windows logo key, P, IL. You hear: "Indent Right." To set the value you want, use the Up and Down arrow keys or type the value (for example, .25 or .5), and then press Enter.

  4. 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

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

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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