How to Double Space on Google Docs

It's simple to change line spacing on Google Docs

Extra whitespace in documents online makes them easier to read. That's why many programs, like Google Docs, default to a line spacing that's slightly larger than the standard single spacing. In the case of Google Docs, the default is 1.15 spaces between lines. This is usually good enough, but if you need additional space, knowing how to double space on Google Docs can be helpful.

The instructions in this article apply when using Google Docs in a web browser and when using Google Docs for a mobile device such as an Android or iOS phone.

Why Use Double Space on Google Docs

While the standard formatting in Google Docs is often good enough for most purposes, there may be other reasons to make the spaces between lines larger. Probably the greatest of those reasons is to have extra space for editing. In most cases, double spacing is standard during the drafting phase of a document, especially large documents like lengthy papers or even book manuscripts. It's time like this, when you need extra space, that it's good to know all the ways you can double space on Google Docs.

How to Double Space on Google Docs Using the Format Menu

Most people using a word processing application like Google Docs will head straight for the format menu when they want to change something about the format of the document. You can use this menu to change the line spacing of your document, or to create new default formatting, too.

  1. Open an existing document or create a new document in Google Docs and place your cursor where you want the double-spacing to begin.

    If you already have text in your document that you would like to reformat to have double spacing, highlight all the text you want to change.

  2. Then select the Format menu.

    The Format menu in Google Docs.
  3. In the Format menu hover your cursor over Line Spacing and then choose Double.

    The double line spacing option on the Format menu in Google Docs.

How to Double Space In Google Docs From the Toolbar

Although using the Format menu to double-space documents in Google Docs is easier, there's an even easier way. It involves using the Formatting toolbar at the top of the page.

  1. Open an existing document or create a new document in Google Docs and place your cursor where you want the double-spacing to begin. You can also highlight existing text to change it to double spaced format if you like.

  2. Click the Line Spacing icon in the formatting toolbar.

    The line spacing option on the formatting toolbar in Google Docs.
  3. Choose Double from the spacing menu that appears.

    The double spacing option on the line spacing menu in Google Docs.

Changing Line Spacing in Google Docs on Mobile Devices

Google Docs on mobile devices like Android or iOS works a little differently than it does when you're using it in a web browser. Line spacing also behaves differently, but it's still not difficult to change.

You only have four options for line spacing when working with documents on a mobile device. They are 1, 1.15, 1.5, and 2. You cannot apply custom formatting using a mobile device.

  1. Open your document in Google Docs on your mobile device and tap the Edit (pencil) icon in the lower right corner.

  2. Select the Format icon at the top of the next page.

  3. Then tap Paragraph in the Format menu that appears and use the up and down arrows next to the Line spacing number to adjust your line spacing for the document. This will change the line spacing for the paragraph where your cursor is. To change another paragraph, you'll need to repeat the process.

    Screenshots showing how to find line spacing options in Google Docs on a mobile device.

When Other Types of Spacing Are Needed

Single and double spacing aren't the only options you have in Google Docs. Whether you're working with the Line spacing option in the Format menu or on the toolbar, you have some other options too.

You're first met with quick line spacing options for Single, 1.15, 1.5, and Double. These quick selections are the most commonly used line spacing options, but you can choose Custom Spacing to create a line spacing that's unique to your needs to fit the document that you're creating.

Custom Spacing opens a Custom spacing dialog box that lets you set the line spacing as well as the spacing before and after a paragraph. This will be applied to the highlighted text or to any text after you've made changes until you change these options again.

Additionally, in both menus you have the option to Add a space before a paragraph or Add a space after a paragraph. This automatically adds space at the beginning or end (or both) of paragraphs on a hard return.

You can also choose how line spacing affects the flow of your document by choosing how each line will behave when you create a new page. You can choose to Keep with next, Keep lines together, or Prevent single lines. All of these options will affect how paragraphs are broken up when you reach the end of a page and begin a new one.