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Online Learning @ College of the Canyons
Line Spacing, Text Alignment, and Indents

There are three separate but related tutorials on this page.

The default setting for line spacing is single-space.  Spacing may be set at single, 1.5, or double.  Some programs will also offer 2.5 and triple-space options.

OPTION A: Using icons

1. The spacing icons may be visible on the Formatting Toolbar. They appear as double horizontal lines. The single-space icon should appear as being highlighted, or selected. 
A single icon may appear on the Formatting toolbar, as four horizontal lines with an up arrow and a down arrow at the left, and a "pull-down" arrow to the right of the icon.  Click on this icon and choose from 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3.

If you do not see graphic icons, use one of the following options.

OPTION B: To add icons to toolbar

1.  Locate the down arrow at the extreme right of the Format toolbar, and click.

2. Click on "Add or Remove Buttons." another drop-down menu will appear.  Move the curser over the word "Formatting."  Another (larger) menu will appear featuring selections; some with checkmarks and others without checkmarks.

3. Locate the Line Spacing icon and click on it. If this box is not already checked, click on it and a check mark will appear next to the selection.

4.  Click somewhere on the screen, outside of the newly opened menus and screens).  All screens and menus will close and the line spacing icon/s will appear.

OPTION C: Using the Paragraph menu

Some versions of Microsoft Word may have no icons available. To change the line spacing, perform the following:

1. Go to "Format" on the menu bar, and click.

2. Go to "Paragraph," and click. A "paragraph" screen will open.

3. Click on "Indents and Spacing" tab, if not already visible.

4. Locate the "Line Spacing" box. (The word "single" should be visible).

5. Click on the down arrow to open the menu.

6. Choose from "single," "1.5 lines," and "double." Click on your choice.

7. Click on "OK." You have successfully chosen your line spacing.

This tutorial will focus on the functions of the four icons located on the Formatting toolbar, adjacent to the "BIU" icons (discussed in an earlier tutorial).

In order, the icons are titled: "Align Left," "Center," "Align Right," and "Full" (sometimes titled "Justify," but performs the same function.)  The graphic appearance of each icon is a series of horizontal lines and is indicative of that icon's task.

1. "Align Left" is the default setting, and should be "selected" on your toolbar already. Text appears flush against the left margin, and irregular near the right margin.

2. To center the text, click on the "Center" icon. Text will appear from the center, outwards in both directions as it is entered. Text along the left and right margins will be jagged.

As it is difficult to visualize text as it is being entered in this manner, it would be preferable to create the text while in the "Left Align" mode; select the text by left-clicking at the beginning of the entry; continue to hold the mouse button down while selecting the entire entry; then click on the "Center" icon.  This will easily center your targeted information.

3. To align all text along the right margin, click on the "Right Align" icon. Text appears flust at the right margin and jagged near the left margin.  This is an operation very rarely used.

4. "Justified" or "Full" Alignment is the style used in textbooks and newspapers, and appears as text set flush to the left and right margins except for the last line of each paragraph. Sometimes an instructor will ask for "full margins" or "fully justified" material. This is what they mean.

There are two types of indentation: first-line and hanging.

First-Line Indent:
1.  Click on "Format" on the Menu toolbar. A drop-down menu will open.

2. Click on "Paragraph." When the "Paragraph" window opens, click on the "Indents and Spacing" tab, if not already evident.

3. Locate the "Special" box within the "Indentation" section. This will show "none" by default.

First-line indent will give you a half-inch space (which you may increase or decrease by clicking on the small up or down arrows on the right side of the box). Selecting "first-line" indent, will indent each first line entered after striking the "enter" key on your keyboard.

Hanging Indent: (a vital tip to memorize)
This procedure is used when creating bibliographies and reference pages.
The hanging indent appears when the first line of text is the only line alligned to the left margin of the document.  All remaining lines are indented by a specific amount (set by you, or one half inch by default).

1.  Click on "Format" on the Menu toolbar. A drop-down menu will open.

2. Click on "Paragraph." When the "Paragraph" window opens, click on the "Indents and Spacing" tab, if not already evident.

3. Locate the "Special" box within the "Indentation" section. This will show "none" by default.

The "hanging indent" default is a half-inch. You may increase or decrease this amount by clicking on the small up and down arrow on the right side of the box. Selecting the hanging indent will give you a non-indented line each time you strike the "Enter" key on your keyboard. All connecting lines under the initial line will be indented.