What does Word mean by single line spacing? I came to print a document today that I had created some time ago, and it had originally just fitted on one page. The whole thing was in 14 point Courier New. I have recently changed my printer and when I opened the document this time about 6 lines had spilled on to the next page. (If I select the old printer it all fits again, but I can't actually use that as the old one is no longer connected.) So I decided to change the line spacing. Thinking that if it didn't fit I should reduce it, I changed it from single to exactly 13 point and it was far less than the page. To get it back to about the size I wanted I had to set the line spacing to exactly 15 point. So can anyone explain to me why exactly 15 point is a smaller line spacing than 14 point single spaced? (And why should the change of printer make such a difference? I might have expected a little, but 6 lines is a lot. Old printer Epson Stylus Color 500 inkjet, new printer Brother 1450 laser.)
Ian <img src=/S/scratch.gif border=0 alt=scratch width=25 height=29>
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I'm not going to pretend to understand or defend how single spacing is implemented, but I believe it is based on the "white space" defined around a standard letter, like a lower case x, in each font. The space creates room for tall letters and descenders so that the line height is consistent regardless of which letters are used in a line. Because of the limits of screen resolution, it may not be possible to determine, without printing, what really lines up. I am attaching an example of what I mean.
What you are seeing is called "leading." Leading, as jScher suggests, is there to make sure that descenders are not cut off. This is all a product of Word being based on a typesetting model, not on a typewriter model.
By default, single spacing has leading. If you want true single spacing (as you would get in a typewriter) then you should set line spacing equal to the point size of the font being used.
Each font has a different set of "metrics" -- and so the amount of leading used for Courier 12 would be different from that used by Arial 12.
As to why you see this leading on one printer and not on another: Likely that the previous printer wasn't built to use font metrics -- that it was using a mapping, say of internal printer Courier for the TrueType Courier New.
Following up from what Jefferson and Guy mentioned, I had done some experiments on this in the past. As Guy mentioned, the leading between lines is there to ensure descenders are not cut off. The amount depends on the font type and size.
For example, for a given point size, Times New Roman has more leading between lines than Arial. For a given font type, the bigger the size the more leading between lines. However, the amount of leading seems to follow some multiplier. Using Arial as an example:
-11 pt Arial had about 2.25 pt of leading (11/2.25 = 4.88)
-14 pt Arial had about 3 pt of leading (14/3 = 4.66)
-48 pt Arial had about 10.5 pt of leading (48/10.5 = 4.57)
Of course these are all approximations based on my eye. I blew things up to 500% to get the amount of leading as accurately as I could.
Typesetters call the whole distance from one baseline to the next "leading". Usually this is about 1.2 times the font size which comes pretty close to the factor you established (1.2 = factor 5).
It's not too bad an idea to set the line spacing to "exactly X pt" instead of the default "single", because with "single" the line spacing differs with the fonts used (the greatest ascenders and descenders are considered, and some fudge factor added). Especially if you are dealing with big Unicode fonts (Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Sans Unicode ...), some characters in the fonts have large ascenders/descenders, and the line spacing turns out too large.
>>Especially if you are dealing with big Unicode fonts
and there's no one I know who knows more about Unicode fonts. Thanks for the verfication of my factor of 5. I thought it was just a coincidence (although at the bigger sizes this is a bit off). On the college newspaper, we used to add 2 points of space to the font size - kind of automatic. Given typical font sizes we used (probably 9, 10, 11 points for story type), that was close enough. That was long, long ago.
>Especially if you are dealing with big Unicode fonts (Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Sans Unicode ...), some characters in the fonts have large ascenders/descenders, and the line spacing turns out too large.
are you saying for a given font that the there are different sizes of ascenders/descenders or from, say, Arial Unicode MS to Lucida Sans Unicode that the descenders are different? Given the definition of leading, it should not matter, for a given font, what the sizes of ascenders are (eg, "t" smaller than "d"). But across fonts, the leading seems tailored for the font (my observations showed TNR had larger leading than Arial).