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Adjusting Line Spacing

When you have a lot of text slides in a presentation, it seems inevitable that some will have more text than will comfortably fit on a slide and some that leave a few lonely-looking lines at the top of the slide.

You can always bump the text size up and down to fit the text to the slide, but it looks less than professional to have the text size jump up and down from slide to slide. Adjusting the spacing between lines of text often looks better.

To adjust the line spacing for a whole block of text, click the text once to get an I-beam insertion cursor, then press the Esc key. This selects the entire text block. Next, choose Format, Line Spacing to open the Line Spacing dialog box. Here, you can make three different spacing adjustments:

  1. Line Spacing increases or decreases the amount of space between every line in the text block.
  2. Before Paragraph increases or decreases the amount of space between each bullet point and the PREVIOUS one.
  3. After Paragraph increases or decreases the amount of space between each bullet point and the FOLLOWING one.

You can use the Up or Down arrow to make spacing adjustments or type the value you want directly in the text boxes in the Line Spacing dialog box. And you can make your adjustments in your choice of units, Lines or Points. Click Preview to see the effect of your changes.

Tip in a tip: If you want your slides to look their best and be as legible as possible, avoid decreasing the line spacing too much--for example, don't set it to less than one line.  

Sometimes you need to apply line spacing to some but not all of the lines in a text block. Suppose, for example, that you have first- and second-level bullet points and want the second-level bullets to sit closer to the first-level bullet they
belong with and a little further away from the first-level bullet point that follows. It couldn't be simpler:

For each first-level bullet point in the text you're working with, click the point to get an I-beam text cursor; choose Format, Line Spacing; and increase the Before Paragraph space setting to taste. Don't forget that you can use the Preview button to see the effect your changes will have when you click OK.

By increasing the Before Paragraph setting for each first-level bullet point, you're putting a little more "air" between it and the previous text. So the previous second-level bullet points will appear to "belong to" the first-level bullet point above them and not sit too close to the first-level bullet point that follows.


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