Learning to remove large spaces in Word

Updated: February 22, 2023
6 min read
Learning to remove large spaces in Word
by Anna Chernetska
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

How to remove large spaces through alignment

Before we start

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Quite often large gaps between words appear because of the wrong type of alignment. Namely - alignment by width. When you choose it, the spacing is increased so that the words occupy the entire line. This is easy to check and correct.

Switch to the Home tab and look at the alignment type in the Paragraph section. If it's "Fit to Width", that's the problem.

To get rid of the gaps, just switch to the "Left alignment" by clicking on the appropriate button or by pressing Ctrl + L on your keyboard.

How to fix large spaces by removing unnecessary spaces

How to fix large spaces

Another common case is using double, triple, or even more, spaces to manually align text. This is the manipulation inexperienced users sometimes apply. Of course, more spaces, create a larger distance between words.

To detect this problem, click the uppercase "P" icon on the Home tab or press Ctrl + Shift + 8 on your keyboard. The dots that appear between words correspond to existing spaces. If the document is properly formatted, there should be one space, instead of two, three, five, or more.

To put the document in order, you can delete unnecessary spaces with the Delete or Backspace keys. If there are a lot of such gaps, it is more convenient to remove them automatically through text replacement.

To do this, press Ctrl + H on your keyboard. Put two spaces in the "Find" field and one space in the "Replace with:" field. Press "Replace All".

Word will find and replace the specified characters. If there are still unnecessary spaces in the text, click "Yes" to search again.

In the same way, if necessary, replace triple, quadruple, and other spaces by inserting the desired number of characters in the "Replace" field. When finished, disable the display of hidden characters with the “P” button or the Ctrl + Shift + 8 combination.

How to remove large spaces in Word by removing the tab

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A variation of the previous situation is manual text alignment with tab characters. To fix it, you need to remove them one by one or replace them with spaces automatically.

Turn on the display of markup symbols in the Home tab or by pressing Ctrl + Shift + 8. Tabulation is indicated by a right arrow. If you see one, that's your case.

Copy the tab character, then press Ctrl + H and paste it into the "Find" field, and in the "Replace with:" field enter a single space and click "Replace All".

Confirm the replacement and all tab characters will be replaced by dots, i.e. normal single spaces.

The only thing remaining is to turn off the display of special characters by clicking the special button on the toolbar or by pressing the keys Ctrl + Shift + 8.

How to remove large spaces between words by removing line breaks

Another option you should check is the presence of line breaks. They are inserted by pressing Shift + Enter and moving the cursor to a new line without creating a paragraph. Removing such hyphenation will make the blank space between words disappear.

To spot a problem in the text, press Ctrl + Shift + 8 or the now-familiar button on the Home tab and look closely at the voids in the text. If there are curved arrows next to them, they are hyphenations.

Simply place the cursor next to the arrow and press Delete. The transfer will be deleted, and the text on the bottom line will be left blank. After this, don’t forget to turn off the special characters' view.

How to remove large spaces by incorporating word breaks

If your text contains very long words, they may not fit at the end of the line and Word will move them to the next line. This will create a lot of voids and large spaces at the right border. Such a problem can be solved by enabling hyphenation.

To do that, switch to the Layout tab and click Wraparound. If you want to apply changes to the whole text, press Ctrl + A beforehand or select the necessary fragment with the cursor.

Select the "Auto" option, and Word will syllabically break up words that don't fit, moving the endings to the next line. The formatting will be much more compact.

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