How to Double Space Your Paper

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Double spacing refers to the amount of space that shows between the individual lines of your paper. When a paper is single-spaced, there is very little white space between the typed lines, which means there is no room for marks or comments. This is precisely why teachers ask you to double space. The white space between the lines leaves room for editing marks and comments.

Double spacing is the norm for essay assignments, so if you are in doubt about expectations, you should format your paper with double spacing. Only use a single space if the teacher asks explicitly for it. 

Don't worry if you've already typed your paper and you now realize that your spacing is wrong. You can change spacing and other types of formatting easily and at any time in the writing process. But the way to go about these changes will differ, depending on the word processing program you're using.

Microsoft Word

If you are working in Microsoft Word 2010, you should follow these steps to set up double-spacing.

  • Select (highlight) text if you have already typed some lines. If not, go to the next step.
  • Click on the Page Layout tab.
  • Go to the Paragraph section. You will see a small arrow in the bottom left corner.
  • Click on the arrow to bring up a new window.
  • Select the Indents and Spacing tab (it is probably already open).
  • Find the Line spacing menu and select double from the list. Then select OK.

Other versions of Microsoft Word will use a similar process and the same wording.

Pages (Mac)

 If you're using the Pages word processor on a mac, you can double-space your paper following these instructions: 

  • First highlight text, if you have already typed some lines
  • Click on Inspector, which is a blue button on the top right of your window
  • When a new window opens, select the Text tab which is a large "T"
  • Find the section labeled Spacing and type 2 into the box to the right of the slide bar
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Your Citation
Fleming, Grace. "How to Double Space Your Paper." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Fleming, Grace. (2023, April 5). How to Double Space Your Paper. Retrieved from Fleming, Grace. "How to Double Space Your Paper." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).