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MS Word: When Asking for Space After Paragraphs Doesn’t Seem to Work

Here’s a problem that I ran into just the other day…

I had created a bullet list of rather lengthy text – clues to a puzzle I was creating for one of the classes I teach.

Anyway, after the list was done I decided that the elements of the list needed a visual break. I didn’t want it double spaced or anything, I just wanted extra space between the paragraphs.

Of course, at this point I selected the entire list and popped over to the Page Layout tab of the Ribbon. Once there I used the “Spacing After” field.


I think I inserted something like 10… at any rate, one that was set I expected to see my list spread out and look a bit more readable.

(Yeah, right. Nothing’s ever as easy as it should be.)

Sure enough – there was absolutely no change.

My first thoughts are censored, but then I slid into problem-solving mode .

I next tried to set the “Space before” field, but got the same result.

At this point it was obvious that I needed to go more in-depth, like into the Paragraph dialog box. (To get there I used the dialog launcher, located in the bottom right corner of the Paragraph group on the Page Layout tab.)


When I got in there I noticed that the “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style” option was checked.

On a whim, I unchecked the box and reset my space after paragraph number.

Happily I found that when I clicked OK the result was exactly the one I’d been looking to achieve.

While I can’t tell you how that option became selected, I can tell you that it is definitely something to investigate the next time your spacing between paragraph settings don’t seem to be working as it should.

~ April