In Word 2013, is there a way to adjust the vertical spacing between lines of an equation?? I've tried the "space after" and the "line spacing" as I would for normal lines of text, but they don't do anything. I think it has to do with the fact that I'm shift-entering each line, so that I can align at the "=" sign?? And hence, the usual line spacing functions don't work. It's very annoying, as I think the lines are too "scrunched" vertically and it makes it hard to read and follow each step. Any ideas??

  • Setting Line Spacing in the Equation Editor
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 19:34
  • Is this the "old" equation editor (which I think is the one DavidPostill's link is for) or the "new" one. If it's the "new" one, are you entering your lines as separate equations, using a matrix layout, or something else? If something else, what?
    – user181946
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 12:52
  • It is the newer editor, in Word 2013. I did see that link previously, but it doesn't apply to the newer editor. I am not using a matrix layout. I'm entering as an equation, and using <shift><return> at the end of each line, as my understanding is that that is required, in order to "align at =". Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 21:04
  • AFAICS adjusting the line spacing for the paragraph (or the paragraph style) does do something useful, but (a) use the Exactly setting, (b) try a larger number such as 30pt first and (c) it's probably not going to do that good a job of spacing equations of different heights. If possible, I'll give it some more thought.
    – user181946
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 9:29
  • @bibadia - would appreciate any feedback you have on my answer, just posted. Thanks! (I'll delete this comment in a few days so it doesn't clutter the record.)
    – cxw
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 20:37

2 Answers 2


Here's a way to do it in the Word 2013 Equation Editor, using VBA and the under-the-hood command codes detailed in Unicode Tech Note 28.

First, to illustrate the process, here's how you make a basic equation array using VBA:

  1. Insert a new-style equation in your document.
  2. Select it (or put the cursor somewhere inside it).
  3. Hit Alt+F11 to open the VBA editor.
  4. Hit Ctl+G or click in the "Immediate" pane.
  5. Enter the following two lines, hitting Enter after each one:

    Selection.OMaths(1).Range.Text=ChrW(&h2588) & "(L1&=R1@L2&=R2)"
  6. The result is a normal two-equation array: screenshot 1 Notice that there is not much space between the first and second lines.

Now, to add the spacing:

  1. Do steps 1-4 above.
  2. Enter following line and hit Enter:

    Selection.OMaths(1).Range.Text=ChrW(&h2588) & "(L1&=R1@" & ChrW(&h27e1) & "(2&" & ChrW(&h22c2) & ")" &"L2&=R2)"
    • For those with full Unicode support in your browser and OS, you can try copying the following line and pasting it into the equation, but that doesn't work as well on my system as the VBA does.


  3. You will see strange-looking text in your equation - don't panic! --- screenshot showing markup

  4. Enter this line and hit Enter, just like above:

  5. You will see the equation array again, but this time with vertical space! --- screenshot with space

Before and after:

screenshot 1 screenshot with space

The good news: Once you've done this one time, you can save the equation as a Building Block (see also Greg Maxey's page). Then all you have to do is insert the equation from the Insert | Symbols | Equation dropdown, and edit L1 through R2 to include what you want.

Explanation: The mini screenshot (ChrW(&h27e1) & "(2&" & ChrW(&h22c2) & ")") is a phantom (ChrW(&h27e1)) that does not appear and has zero width (2), and that is the same height as a \bigcap (ChrW(&h22c2)). That \bigcap takes up vertical space, which is added to the second row to push it down below the first row. You can select the phantom at the beginning of the second row, and if you delete it the extra space will disappear.

If you need vertical space elsewhere, you can copy and paste the phantom (⟡(2&⋂)) into your equation and press Space to build it up.


I enjoyed the VBA answer. I've found that a much easier solution is simply making two (or more) equation boxes and selecting the box above where a space should be. Then, selecting the paragraph options, change the line spacing to "double" and now the top equation is elongated laterally to incorporate a space.

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