How to Change Line Spacing in InDesign

In this quick walkthrough, we've shared how to change line spacing in InDesign, so you can make documents more legible and aesthetically pleasing. In the design world, the space between lines is called leading.

How is Leading Measured? 
Take a look at a magazine or newspaper you have around the house. If you study the basic typography, you'll see that the bottom of each character is in alignment. It almost looks like the text is sitting on an imaginary line. This is called the baseline. 

Leading is the length between the current baseline and the baseline above it. When you open InDesign for the first time, your Leading settings should be 120% of the current font size by default. That means if you're using a 20-point font, the Leading will be 24-point. Since Leading is measured from one baseline to another, this 24-point example will lead to 20% of empty space between the two text lines. 

Depending on your current font size, the Auto Leading value will adjust the spacing between lines so that it stays proportional. This is measured as a percentage of character size. By default, InDesign text frames have a 175% Auto Leading value, and frame grids have a 100% value. You'll find these settings in Justification dialog box, located in the Leading section of the control panel.

How to Change Line Spacing in InDesign  
1. First, open your current InDesign project or start a new one by selecting "File" > "New" > "Document". If you don't have any text in your project yet, select the Type tool (it looks like a T) and drag to create a text box. Then, start typing.  

2. With your Type tool still selected, click and drag over the text area that you wish to format. Next, find the Character panel in the top right corner of the screen, above the horizontal ruler. Look for the Leading setting, which has an icon with two A's stacked on top of each other. 

3. Finally, you can tweak the Leading setting to your liking. If you've previously aligned the text to its baseline grid (i.e. the bottom of the frame) or enabled vertical justification, InDesign may not apply your Leading changes. In this case, you should disable the alignment and justification, adjust the Leading, and continue the design process from there. 

How to Apply Leading to a Paragraph
You can apply as many Leading values to your text as necessary (even within the same paragraph). However, if you'd like to select an entire paragraph for Leading adjustments, go to "Edit" ("InDesign" on Mac) > "Preferences" > "Type". Then enable "Apply Leading To Entire Paragraph".  

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