This doesn’t look single-spaced to me

close up of a word written with a typewriter on paper

A reader has some questions about what constitutes a single space.

“I have 3 Word programs (Open Office, Microsoft Works and LibreOffice).  I lost the Word program I used to have a while back (which I loved) and when I typed a document, it was single-spaced (unlike this and with my Word programs).  They say they’re single-spaced but they’re not.  This is a space and a half.  I was a secretary for 36 years, so I know.  The documents I typed at work, didn’t have this much space between lines.”

The default space for LibreOffice is actually 1.15 spaces. Here’s what the different spacing options look like in Microsoft Word.

Here’s what they look like in LibreOffice:
The spacing looks fairly similar to me, but they may not look like the spacing you’re used to seeing in print documents over the years. Back in 2007, Microsoft changed the default line spacing for 1.0 to 1.15 spaces and other programs have followed suit.

The reason is to increase readability on screens. Back in the days of typewriters and printed documents, saving space was key. But these days, most documents are actually viewed online and the changes were made to make them easier to the eye when viewed on a screen. Also, there’s no one rule for how much space a single space represents. It can vary from program to program.

To change the default setting in LibreOffice to single-space, press F11. The Style menu will open on the right. Right-click on Default Paragraph Style

Choose Modify.

Choose Indents & Spacing and select your preferred spacing under Line Spacing.

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