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 or Fixes or workarounds for recent office issues.

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, JAWS, and NVDA, 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.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to set the line spacing or indenting in a Word document, but not using a screen reader? See Change the line spacing in Word, Adjust indents and spacing, or Create a hanging indent.

Notes: 

In this topic

Set paragraph spacing

You can set spacing both before and after a paragraph. Smaller point values represent less space.

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose spacing you want to format. If you want to set the paragraph spacing for the entire document, press Ctrl+A to select all its content.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To set the spacing before a paragraph, press Alt+P, S, B. 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 press Enter.

    • To set the spacing after a paragraph, press Alt+P, S, A. 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 press Enter.

Set default spacing

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 box, press Alt+H, P, G.

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

  4. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select either the This document only or the All documents option. Then press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and press Enter. The Paragraph dialog box closes and the focus returns to the document.

Set line spacing

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose line spacing you want to format. If you want to set the line spacing for the entire document, press Ctrl+A to select all its content.

  2. To set line spacing options for a paragraph, 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.

Set paragraph indents

Paragraphs can have both left and right indents, as well as a first line indent.

  1. In your document, select the paragraph you want to indent. If you want to set the paragraph indent for the entire document, press Ctrl+A to select all its content.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To set the size of the left indent, press Alt+P, I, L. You hear: "Paragraph, indent left." Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select the value or type the value (for example, .25 or .5), and press Enter.

    • To set the size of the right indent, press Alt+P, I, R. You hear: "Paragraph, indent right." Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select the value or type the value (for example, .25 or .5), and press Enter.

Set first line indent

With a first line indent, the first line of a paragraph is indented more than the other lines in the paragraph.

To add a first line indent to the paragraph, move the focus to the beginning of the first line of the paragraph, and press the Tab key.

Set default indents

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 box, press Alt+H, P, G.

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

  4. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select either the This document only or the All documents option. Then press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and press Enter. The Paragraph dialog box closes and the focus returns to the document.

Use mirror indents

For book-style printing, use the mirror indents 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 indents, do the following:

  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 box, press Alt+H, P, G.

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

  4. To close the Paragraph dialog box, 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 in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in macOS 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 for 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.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to set the line spacing or indenting in a Word document, but not using a screen reader? See Adjust indents and spacing or Create a hanging indent.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 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.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in macOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

In this topic

Set paragraph spacing

You can set spacing both before and after a paragraph. Smaller point values represent less space.

  1. To change the spacing of a paragraph, select the paragraph you want to format, and press Option+Command+M to open the Paragraph dialog box with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  2. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Spacing."

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To set the spacing before a paragraph, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Before," then press Control+Option+Right arrow key once to move to the point value field.

    • To set the spacing after a paragraph, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "After," then press Control+Option+Right arrow key once to move to the point value field.

  4. In the Before or After fields, type a point value, for example, 6 or 18.

  5. To close the Paragraph dialog box and return to your document, press Return.

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 with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  2. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Spacing."

  3. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Line spacing." Then press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the options list.

  4. Use the Up or Down arrow key to find the line spacing option you want. To select, press Spacebar.

  5. To close the Paragraph dialog box and return to your document, press Return.

Set paragraph indents

Paragraphs can have both left and right indents, as well as a first line or hanging indent.

Set first line indent

With a first line indent, the first line of a paragraph is indented more than the other lines in the paragraph.

  1. To indent the first line of a paragraph, select the paragraph you want to format, and press Option+Command+M to open the Paragraph dialog box with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  2. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Indentation."

  3. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Special." Then press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the options list.

  4. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear: "First line." To select, press Spacebar.

  5. To set the first line indentation size, press the Tab key. You hear the current indentation size. If you want to change the value, type a new value.

  6. To close the Paragraph dialog box and return to your document, press Return.

Note: All subsequent paragraphs that you type will be indented.

Set hanging indent

With a hanging indent, all but the first line of a paragraph are indented.

  1. To indent all but the first line of a paragraph, select the paragraph you want to format, and press Option+Command+M to open the Paragraph dialog box with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  2. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Indentation."

  3. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Special." Then press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the options list.

  4. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear: "Hanging." To select, press Spacebar.

  5. To set the hanging indentation size, press the Tab key. You hear the current indentation size. If you want to change the value, type a new value.

  6. To close the Paragraph dialog box and return to your document, press Return.

Indent an entire paragraph

  1. To indent a paragraph, select the paragraph you want to format, and press Option+Command+M to open the Paragraph dialog box with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  2. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Indentation."

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To set indent from the left margin, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Left," then press Control+Option+Right arrow key once to move to the indent size field. You hear the current value.

    • To set indent from the right margin, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Right," then press Control+Option+Right arrow key once to move to the indent size field. You hear the current value.

  4. In the Left or Right fields, type a new indentation size. Depending on your settings, this is either in centimeters or inches.

  5. To close the Paragraph dialog box and return to your document, press Return.

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

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to change the spacing of paragraphs and lines, and the indent of paragraphs.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 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.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • We recommend you read and edit documents in Print Layout View. VoiceOver might 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. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  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, if you aren't already on it, 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: Paragraph spacing can only be switched 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. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  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, if you aren't already on it, 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. 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. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  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, if you aren't already on it, 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. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  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, if you aren't already on it, 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. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  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, if you aren't already on it, 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, button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To decrease the indent, swipe right until you hear “Decrease indent position, 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

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to change the spacing of paragraphs and lines, and the indent of paragraphs.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 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.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

In this topic

Set paragraph spacing

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose spacing you want to format. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Not ticked, more options, switch," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To select the Home tab, if you aren't already on it, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and 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: Paragraph spacing can only be switched 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 format. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Not ticked, more options, switch," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To select the Home tab, if you aren't already on it, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and 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,” followed by the current line spacing value, and double-tap the screen.

  6. 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.

Set paragraph indents

Indent only the first line of a paragraph

  1. In your document, select the paragraph you want to indent. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Not ticked, more options, switch," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To select the Home tab, if you aren't already on it, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and 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, switch,” 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. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Not ticked, more options, switch," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To select the Home tab, if you aren't already on it, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and 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, 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. For instructions, refer to section "Select text" in Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word.

  2. To go to the ribbon, swipe right or left until you hear "Not ticked, more options, switch," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To select the Home tab, if you aren't already on it, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear "Home tab," and double-tap the screen.

  4. 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

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for the web 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 in Microsoft Edge and JAWS and NVDA in Chrome, but it might work with other screen readers and web browsers 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.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to set the line spacing or indenting in a Word document, but not using a screen reader? See Change the line spacing in Word, Adjust indents and spacing, or Create a hanging indent.

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 for the web. For more information, refer to Turn off virtual or browse mode in screen readers in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 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 you use Word for the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Word for the web 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 for the web.

In this topic

Set paragraph spacing

You can set the spacing point value before and after a paragraph. Smaller point values represent less space.

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose spacing you want to format 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 to select all its content.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To set the spacing before a paragraph, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Ribbon tab" or "Ribbon toolbar," depending on which screen reader you are using, and press P, S, B. 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). Press Ctrl+F6 to return the focus to the body text.

    • To set the spacing after a paragraph, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Ribbon tab" or "Ribbon toolbar," depending on which screen reader you are using, and press P, S, A. 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). Press Ctrl+F6 to return the focus to the body text.

Set line spacing

  1. In your document, select the paragraph whose line spacing you want to format by moving the insertion point to the beginning of the paragraph and pressing Shift+Ctrl+Down arrow key. If you want to set the line spacing for the entire document, press Ctrl+A to select all its content.

  2. To set line spacing for a selected paragraph, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Ribbon tab" or "Ribbon toolbar," depending on which screen reader you are using, and press H, P, G. The Paragraph dialog box opens.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "Line spacing," followed by the current value. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select from a list of frequently used line spacing sizes. Then press the Tab key until you hear "OK, button," and press Enter to apply the value you selected.

Set paragraph indents

  1. In your document, select the paragraph you want to indent 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 to select all its content.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To set the size of the left indent, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Ribbon tab" or "Ribbon toolbar," depending on which screen reader you are using, and press P, I, L. 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). Press Ctrl+F6 to return the focus to the body text.

    • To set the size of the right indent, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Ribbon tab" or "Ribbon toolbar," depending on which screen reader you are using, and press P, I, R. 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). Press Ctrl+F6 to return the focus to the body text.

Set first line indent

With a first line indent, the first line of a paragraph is indented more than the other lines in the paragraph.

To add a first line indent to a paragraph, move the focus to the beginning of the first line of the paragraph and press the Tab key.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

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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