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When I write emails, or any text, I prefer to use single spacing; by which I mean if I press the return key, I get one apparent new-line.

If I want two new-lines, I'll press the return key twice.

Why is it that, when I reply to some emails in Outlook, the paragraph settings seem to be set to double-spacing, and when I reply to other emails, the paragraph settings are set to single spacing?

Clarification: I've just checked the Outlook options and the exact difference is that the Before and After spacing is set to Auto on some emails and 0pt on others (the "double-spacing" effect appears when the Before and After spacing is set to Auto). Please see the below screenshot for an example:

Paragraph Settings

I've also just noticed that checking the Don't add space between paragraphs of the same style option has the desired effect of removing the double-spacing behaviour.

Is there a reason why, when replying to some emails, Outlook defaults to one and for some defaults to the other?

Is there any way to force Outlook to always use the same paragraph settings?

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It's probably formatting your reply the same as the message you're replying to. – G-Man Mar 26 '15 at 19:49

In Outlook 2013 this is still a very annoying problem. The solution is to:

  • Go to "pop-out" your email in Outlook 2013 so that you are looking at it in full screen (you may not to do need this step in 2007 or 2010 I believe).
  • Choose the "Format Text" tab at the top and select the "Change Styles" drop-down near the right end of the ribbon.
  • In "Paragraph Spacing" you need to go to "Custom Paragraph spacing". Even the "Compact" option will not do what you need.
  • Once the box is open change the Before and After options to "0 pt" in "Paragraph Spacing". Remember to select the "New documents based on this template" radio button too.
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thank you! this is the only one that worked – Kevin Qiu Feb 5 '14 at 17:55
Thanks for the info Kevin - for some reason other people downvoted me, so I was worried that I'd made an error in my instructions. – Kieran Walsh Feb 5 '14 at 21:51
I tried this and it had no effect. My values for Before and After were already set to 0pt. Sadly, there is no option on this form to "Don't add space between paragraphs of the same style". – LordScree Jun 26 '14 at 8:12
I tried this but it doesn't save it for the next email that is composed, just the new email. – Mike Mar 18 '15 at 21:46

In Outlook 2007 and 2010 you need to click on File - Options.

Click the Mail tab on left menu. Then select Stationary and Fonts. In here, set up what you want for new, replying and plain text message.

Set all 3 up the same way, it should keep your preferred format/design.

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I just followed your suggestion to the letter. I'm afraid doing this made no difference - I still get different behaviour when replying to some messages than for others. All the messages I'm using for testing this are HTML format, so this is not related to the "plain text" options, either – LordScree Oct 2 '12 at 11:17
The Personal Stationery does not have any line-spacing options, only font options. – OrangeDog Mar 19 '13 at 14:43

I found a very simple solution to remove double spacing in replies to email having double spacing.

Menu -> Format Text - > Change Styles -> Style Set -> Word 2003

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I do not see a "Word 2003" option under the Style Set list. – LordScree Jun 26 '14 at 8:08

Step 1 Open a message window in Outlook if you haven't already done so.

Step 2 Click inside the part of the window where you compose your messages. If you've already started a message, highlight the double-spaced message text.

Step 3 Click the "Format Text" tab.

Step 4 Click the small arrow in the corner of the Paragraph section of the ribbon to open the Paragraph dialog box.

Step 5 Change the "Line Spacing" setting to "Single" to create single spacing of lines within paragraphs.

Step 6 Change the "Before" and "After" settings to control the spacing between paragraphs. Changing the settings to zero eliminates all spacing between paragraphs.

Step 7 Click the "Set As Default" button and then select "All Documents Based on the NormalEmail.dotm Template" to apply the new settings to all future messages.

Step 8 Click "OK" to return to the message window.

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Open New Email Right Click on the white empty space and click “Paragraph”

Change Spacing “Before and After” to 0 pt

Click “OK” NOTE: DON’T CLICK “Set As Default”

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Please explain why you are suggesting DON’T CLICK “Set As Default” when several answers are suggesting the opposite. – DavidPostill Apr 18 at 11:04

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