Adjusting paragraph and text spacing

I'm touching up my final draft in preparation for printing, and I'm finding myself tweaking the spacing of more than a few paragraphs in order to get one or two words on the last line to move up with the rest of the paragraph.

Although my tweaks are minor (0.1pt) and I can't really tell the difference (on screen, at least), I'm wondering if there's a better way to go about this. Should I just tweak the spacing document-wide and call it a night, or is it all right to adjust things paragraph-by-paragraph?

For reference, using Word, 12-pt Times New Roman, 6x9" template, kerning currently off.


  • My advice on that, try and make the spacing uniform, if you can. I have seen varied spacing, quite frequently actually, but uniformity is best still. 
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    You don't say what size margins and Gutter you are using. Changing those, if there's enough allowance, will change the line word count.

    But all I can do for now is tell you my own paragraph settings.

    Spacing, Before and After = 0.

    Line Spacing = Single.

    Experiment with the settings on the Line and Page Break tab. Some will try to keep paragraphs together, and some will break them up oddly, leaving large gaps at the bottom of pages. Currently mine are all left un-ticked

    I would not play with Kerning, it can have strange effects, and the default setting is acceptable to the eye.

    Are you using Justify?

  • zakmanzakman Reader
    Margins are 0.6" top and bottom, 0.5" on the sides, gutter is 0.3". I don't think I touched these since I started with this file (6x9 template) but will double-check to be sure. Using Justified, and line spacing is currently Multiple/1.08 for most of the document - I was experimenting with it before I settled on that - it seems to be working out for me.

    Most of the other settings you referenced are unchecked, though right now I do have Widow/Orphan control checked. I have noticed that it breaks up paragraphs, but I find that a mostly acceptable trade-off for what it's meant for.
  • I personally always go through line by line and tinker with the spacing and kerning to make the file look the way I want. Word can be annoying to work with for this, but it is doable.

    For line spacing, keeping it consistent is best, but for the actual character spacing and kerning, small adjustments are unnoticeable in most cases.
  •  If you do use the kerning option, make sure the screen size when working on the file matches the book size. You can then see exactly what the printed book with kerning would look like. I don't like it myself, but many high profile books do have this, as well as a different font size for a line or two within a paragraph. I suppose if it's that important to prevent rivers of white (even on a justified doc), or for the text not to wrap over and finish a chapter with just a few words, or to utilise the very last line which is often not accessible due to a capital or two being just too high, then these options have their uses, but I try to avoid them if I can. I'd sooner pad out or reduce the text first.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Often one can end up with one line, or even one word on a page of its own. Unless one wants to adjust an entire document to try to stop that happening (and often only making it happen somewhere else!) one just has to accept it. It's not that unusual really.
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