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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2019 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Nov 24, 2017

WordPerfect Tips
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How to

(1) enable double-spaced text, or

(2) create other custom line spacing, or

(3) automatically adjust paragraph spacing and indentation, or

(4) use styles and/or keyboard shortcuts to set spacing

Contents -

Line height and leading

Line spacing

Automatic paragraph spacing

Automatically indent the first line of paragraphs

Using styles to set line height, leading, line spacing, or paragraph spacing

Using shortcuts with your keyboard or toolbar

Finding the current line height

Line spacing in WordPerfect vs. Microsoft Word




¤  WordPerfect menu choices on this site refer to the <WordPerfect> menu (right-click on the top menu bar for a choice of menus). If you use a <Microsoft Word> menu, the choices might be absent from your menu (but not from the program), or they might be found under another menu selection. See here for more.

¤  If you are in a hurry to set line spacing you can skip to "Line spacing" or "Using shortcuts with your keyboard or toolbar" below.

Here's how to double space text, or add other custom line spacing (line height, leading, and line spacing) or paragraph spacing/indentation.

But first, let's take a look at some commonly used terms, what they mean in WordPerfect, and how to use the features that these terms reference. This little bit of background information should help you apply spacing effectively.

Line height and leading

Line height is the distance between the bottom (or baseline) of one line of text to the bottom of the next line. This is a measurement that is automatically set by WordPerfect for the size and type of the font in effect.

Essentially, WordPerfect determines what line height is needed to make a typical line of text optimally readable. Of course, this setting may not always be what is optimal or desirable in a given document or specific location, so WordPerfect gives you several ways to manually adjust the distance between lines of text.

Practically speaking, text should have enough leading (rhymes with wedding) -- or white space -- between the lines for that particular font and font size so that your eye can easily find its way to the next line in the paragraph. [Leading adjustments will, of course, affect the spacing between lines, the same as adjusting line height. I think leading is a useful feature for small blocks of text in a document to "tweak" the visual effect, as when you use longer lines or if you use a different font for a special effect, and you need a little more spacing.]

Incidentally, many typography references suggest that the ideal line height for normal lines of less than about 65 characters and spaces is 1.2 times the height of the "m" character.

But again, WordPerfect takes care of this for you (via information embedded in the font itself), and most of the time this works well. However, the longer the line -- especially if it is longer than about 70 characters -- the more leading should be used. Some use 1.3-1.5 times the normal line height, or even more, but you are the final judge of these things. How it looks -- and how easily it reads -- is the final test. Experiment to see what works best.

Here are some things to consider:

•  More leading is especially needed with any of these text types: fully justified, italicized, bold, all-cap, or text set in a script font or in reverse type (e.g., white on black).

•  Too little leading makes such lines more difficult to read than is the case with normal, left-justified ("flush left") text. Headlines, on the other hand, might actually require less leading.

•  To manually adjust line height to a preferred fixed (or minimum) amount, use one of the following two methods. Each method, or both, can be used on the same section of text, but you probably will tend to use just one of them in a document.

A. Format, Line, Height. You can set a fixed amount or a minimum amount. You can type a value into the field in inches (e.g., 0.194") or in points (e.g., 14p); the program will convert points to inches. In Reveal Codes this produces a [Ln Height] code.

...or use...

B. Format, Typesetting, Word/Letter Spacing, Adjust leading. A positive value increases the leading and a negative value decreases it. 
In Reveal Codes this produces a [Leading Adj] code.

•  These settings will take effect from the current cursor location forward, unless and until a new setting takes effect later in the document or until any newly inserted [Ln Height] or [Leading Adj] codes are deleted in Reveal Codes.

•  You can also change the line height and/or leading of just a selection of text. This is particularly useful for quotations and headlines. [See Footnote 1 for some tips on using this procedure on a selection inside a paragraph containing other text.]

Having read this far you might well ask: What does all this have to do with line spacing? How do I double space a document?

Line spacing

Line spacing in WordPerfect is simply a multiple of line height.

When you increase line height for a given font and font size, you obviously increase the spacing (leading) between lines. (This is one reason why you might see the terms leading and line spacing used almost interchangeably in reference books.)

In WordPerfect you can set a this value very easily with the Line Spacing feature. It removes the small burden of calculating line height and/or leading when you simply need to double space or triple space a document (or set some other common fraction such as 1.5 space). Think of it as a quick and easy "automatic multiplier."

•  Click Format, Line, Line Spacing (or Format, Line Spacing in some earlier versions).

•  Type a value in the Spacing box and press <Enter> or click OK.
(This produces a [Ln Spacing] code in Reveal Codes.)

For example, double spacing is simply achieved by setting the value to 2.0. This value tells WordPerfect to use twice the normal line height -- the value WordPerfect has automatically set for that font and font size (or to any custom value you may have set with the procedures above). If you type 1.5 you will get one and a half times the current line height, and so forth.

Most users probably will use line spacing rather than line height to achieve double or triple spacing (or some fraction of these), since, as noted, it does not require any extra calculations on your part. On the other hand, line height and/or leading might be more useful to "tweak" certain parts of a document, for the reasons given above.


¤  You can set line spacing for just a selection of text.

¤  If you do not select any text when changing line spacing, then the new line spacing will take effect from that point onward (actually, from the beginning of the current paragraph onward) until it is reset or until the [Ln Spacing] code is deleted from Reveal Codes.
[See Footnote 1 for some tips on using this procedure on a selection inside a paragraph containing other text.]

¤  You might notice that the program will not change line spacing (with a new
[Ln Spacing] code) if the document is already set to the same line spacing. This is because the program is designed to remove certain unnecessary (duplicate) codes.

Automatic paragraph spacing

Generally speaking, in WordPerfect a paragraph is anything that ends with a single press of the <Enter> key regardless of any spacing (or lack of spacing) following that key press.

Most of the time the <Enter> key produces a hard return code ([HRt]) -- but it could produce another paragraph termination code, such as seen in Reveal Codes with paragraph styles or outline styles.

In other words it's not the space that tells WordPerfect that the paragraph has ended, it's the termination code.

In any case, while typing it is usually better to hit <Enter> just once between paragraphs that you have previously set up to use a more pleasing spacing between them (say, 1.5 lines), than to use <Enter><Enter> to add spacing between paragraphs. The latter method typically produces too much between-paragraph spacing, especially for typeset documents where such wider spacing tends to look amateurish. 

Related tips

☼  You can globally remove extra adjacent hard returns in a document with a macro such as DelExtraHR.wcm here.)

☼  You can "close up" ("shrink") the single full-height line space between a Heading style (or other paragraph style) and the immediately following paragraph (even if that "paragraph" is just a blank line) by simply editing that paragraph style: See "Reduce spacing between a paragraph Heading style and the following body text (and other paragraph style tips)" here. [You can use that technique even if you do not use automatic paragraph spacing -- i.e., if you wish to continue using multiple presses of the <Enter> key to separate paragraphs.]

Automatically increase or decrease spacing between paragraphs

To set automatic line spacing between paragraphs

•  Click Format, Paragraph, Format.

•  Specify the number of lines in whole numbers or decimal fractions -or- the distance in points you want between lines (there are 72 points in 1 inch).

With this setting you only need to press <Enter> once between each paragraph. If you wish to set this as your default for new documents see here.


•  If line spacing is set at 1.0, specifying a 1.5 for "Number of lines" will automatically insert an extra half line between each paragraph of text when you terminate those paragraphs with the <Enter> key.

•  Setting this value to 2.0 will add an extra full line between paragraphs. However, this is not the same thing as "double spacing," which refers to adding extra space between all lines in the text, not just between individual paragraphs.

•  You can also decrease spacing between body text paragraphs (e.g., with a setting of 0.9 or similar). This is sometimes done for a block of text, or between a change in formatting at a specific location.

An additional benefit of using this feature

If you add, say, an extra half line between paragraphs (e.g., a setting of 1.5 lines), and then add double or triple line spacing to the document (with Format, Line, Spacing), the paragraphs will be proportionally separated, rather than have (in the case of using two or three presses of the <Enter> key) a huge white space between the paragraphs.

Tip - To temporarily use normal single-line spacing inside automatically spaced paragraphs

You can usually insert single normally spaced blank lines, or start additional normally spaced text lines, inside automatically spaced paragraphs (or outline levels) with Line Breaks:

Position your cursor in the body text (or outline level) and then insert a line break with <Ctrl+Shift+L>. This inserts a [Ln Brk] code in Reveal Codes. Rather than start a new paragraph like with an <Enter> key, a line break essentially "breaks" the current line into a new line, ignoring some special line spacing such as automatic line spacing (and some other paragraph format codes, too).

This might be useful for quotations or similar single-spaced material.

Automatically indent the first line of paragraphs

In the same Format, Paragraph, Format dialog you can set the first line of the next paragraph to indent a given amount -- automatically -- when you press <Enter>.

This inserts a [First Ln Ind] code at the current cursor location.

Some typography reference books suggest you do not indent five spaces, as once was the rule with typewriters. Rather, they recommend that you should set the indent to the width of an "m" character in typeset documents. As always, you should be the judge. (WordPerfect uses a half inch as a default setting for first line indentation -- i.e., generally to the first tab stop -- regardless of the font size.)

The first paragraph on a page, or the first paragraph after a subheading, should not generally be indented. The reader has already been signaled that a new paragraph is about to begin, so indenting at those locations is redundant.


A "paragraph" in WordPerfect is any text (even a single character) that ends when you press the <Enter> key. Also, Paragraph styles -- e.g., Heading styles -- contain internal end-of-paragraph coding, which is activated with the <Enter> key.

Hence such styles can be affected by setting automatic first line indents further up in the document, thereby shifting the style's text rightward the same amount as a first line indent.

Presumably, this is not what you want to do, since Headings (and some other Paragraph styles) typically line up with the left margin. For a way of dealing with this issue, see Footnote 2.

Using styles to set line height, leading, line spacing, or paragraph spacing

You can create custom styles that contain line height, leading, or line spacing codes. These can then be accessed as needed in any document from the Styles drop list on a property bar or from a toolbar. For more on this topic, see here.

For the current document, you can also double-click the [Open Style: DocumentStyle] code at the very top of the document to open the Styles Editor for the current document and use the Editor's menu to set any of the items above. Or, you can use File, Document, Current Document Style to do the same thing.

Caution: Unless you really want your newly created custom settings for spacing to take effect in every new document, do not enable the checkbox at the bottom of the Styles Editor, "Use as default." That checkbox will cause your settings to be included in the default template which spawns all new documents. Most likely you will not want to do that. Instead, if you want to use them frequently for special purposes you could create a custom template rather than modify the default template. (For more on the default template and custom templates, see here.)

Using shortcuts with your keyboard or toolbar

Starting with WordPerfect 10, several of these features were assigned directly to keystroke combinations on the default (WPWin) keyboard:

<Ctrl+1> = single spacing
<Ctrl+2> = double spacing
<Ctrl+5> = 1.5 spacing

These Format features are (not surprisingly) named Single Line Spacing, Double Line Spacing, and 1.5 Line Spacing, and are found under the Format category in the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog (Tools, Settings, Customize, Keyboards tab, <select name>, Edit; however, before making any modifications you might want to read the relevant information about keyboard assignments).

You can add these Line Spacing features to a custom keyboard definition of your own. You could also add Line Height and Line Spacing buttons to a toolbar or property bar.

See here for more on how to add WordPerfect features to keystroke combinations, and how to add buttons to a toolbar or property bar.

Finding the current line height

As noted above, line height is set automatically by WordPerfect for the font and font size in effect, or you can set a fixed line height yourself.

However, if you want to know the exact line height at the current cursor location, here is a macro to do it (thanks to Klaus Pfeiffer for the technique he posted here):

// Note that if the cursor is on the last line of the document,
// line height will be shown as (0) zero:
HRt=NTOC(0F90Ah) // HardReturn
vCurrentLineHeight = vLineB - vLineA
vCurrentLineHeight = ConvertType(vCurrentLineHeight; Integer!)
vCurrentLineHeightInches = ConvertType(vCurrentLineHeight; Integer!)/1200
vCurrentLineHeightInchesR = RoundOff((ConvertType(vCurrentLineHeight; Integer!)/1200);.001)
"Current line height and font size";
+"Line Height (WPUnits): "+vCurrentLineHeight+HRt
+"Font Size (WPUnits): "+vFontSize+HRt+HRt
+"Line Height (Inches): "+vCurrentLineHeightInches+HRt
+"Font Size (Inches): "+vFontSizeInches+HRt+HRt
+"Line Height (Rounded): "+vCurrentLineHeightInchesR+HRt
+"Font Size (Rounded): "+vFontSizeInchesR+HRt+HRt
+"Line Spacing: "+vCurrentLineSpacing+HRt)
// Macro ends

To copy this macro into WordPerfect, see here.

Line spacing in WordPerfect vs. Microsoft Word

For some differences in applying line spacing in these two programs see Cindy's 2005 post on WordPerfect Universe here (and for convenience, mirrored here:)

"Regarding things like changing line spacing, please be aware of the following difference between how Word and how WordPerfect behave:

In Word, if you make a line spacing change without first selecting text, and if there are already multiple paragraphs in the document and you're not making the change to the last paragraph, the change will apply only to the paragraph where your cursor is. But if you're starting with a new blank document and you make a line spacing change, the change will apply to all subsequent paragraphs as you type them.

WordPerfect always works more like the second of the two Word possibilities - that is, if you make a line spacing change (or many other types of changes) without first selecting text, the change will apply from that point in the document on, even if the change was made somewhere in the middle of a document - it won't apply only to the paragraph where your cursor is located.

In both Word and WordPerfect, if you first select text and then change line spacing, the change will affect only (and all of) the selected text."

For more on the basic differences between Word and WordPerfect see here.

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Footnote 1

If I recall correctly, a change was made in a early version of WordPerfect to force certain format codes that affect an entire paragraph or an entire page (such as line spacing, line height, etc.) to the beginning of the paragraph or page. They then will affect the entire paragraph or page.

This solved various format issues -- but it means that you may have to temporarily disable this default if your formatting does not seem to work on a selection of text that is inside a larger block of text, such as a sentence inside a paragraph.

Here's how:

Create a simple, one-line macro with just this command (if you don't know how to do this, see here):


Then, for example, after you have adjusted leading (presumably at the end of the selection of text) to a negative amount to close up the line height to match the remainder of the paragraph, you would use another macro to reestablish the default -- which is the normally desirable state:


Note that AutoCodePlacement is a "sticky" command, so you will want to be sure to enable it again with the second macro after editing and before you exit the document.

Footnote 2

[...continued from above]


Using Format, Paragraph, Format, then choosing "First line indent" to indent paragraphs, will cause that setting to be inherited by other paragraph styles further down in the document, such as Heading styles (which also produce paragraphs).

Hence, you will see this (i.e., both Heading and regular paragraphs are indented) ...

... voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

        Lorem Ipsum (<- a Paragraph Heading style)

        Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat....

... instead of this (i.e., Heading aligned with left margin) ...

... voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem Ipsum (<- a Paragraph Heading style)

        Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat....


One way to handle this problem is to force the Heading style to have a zero "First line indent" so that the style's first line of text is aligned with the left margin.

However, if you try to set a Heading's "First line indent" back to 0" by editing the Heading style (a quick way is to simply double-click on its [Style] code in Reveal Codes) and then using Format, Paragraph, Format in the Heading's Styles Editor, you might notice that WordPerfect will not insert a code in the Editor if it is the same as the current (or default) setting for that particular style formatting.

The reason is that WordPerfect usually avoids duplication of codes at the same location. Here, Heading styles are internally formatted as paragraphs, and they are treated much the same as other paragraphs. By setting a "first line indent" in the document's main text, all following paragraphs -- including text formatted with paragraph styles -- are indented.

Here's a trick to overcome that problem:

(1) In the Heading's Styles Editor, insert a "First line indent" setting at the beginning of all codes in the Contents pane, with the Editor's Format, Paragraph, Format menu. Set it to any value that is greater than 0" -- and then immediately insert another one that is equal to 0". The second code ([First Ln Ind: 0"]) will take precedence since it is "downstream" from the first code.

(2) Exit from the Styles Editor. If you bring up the Editor again and you should see a [First Ln Ind: 0"] code there.

All the Headings (of that format style) should now start at the left margin, not at the first line indent value the other paragraphs have.

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