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Double-spaced documents in LaTeX

A quick and easy way of getting inter-line space for copy-editing is to change \baselinestretch\linespread{1.2} (or, equivalently \renewcommand{\baselinestretch}{1.2}) may be adequate. Note that \baselinestretch changes don’t take effect until you select a new font, so make the change in the preamble before any font is selected. Don’t try changing \baselineskip: its value is reset at any size-changing command so that results will be inconsistent.

For preference (and certainly for a production document, such as a dissertation or an article submission), use a line-spacing package. The only one currently supported is setspace. Setspace switches off double-spacing at places where even the most die-hard official would doubt its utility (footnotes, figure captions, and so on); it’s very difficult to do this consistently if you’re manipulating \baselinestretch yourself.

(Note: do not be tempted by doublespace — its performance under current LaTeX is at best problematical.)

Of course, the real solution (other than for private copy editing) is not to use double-spacing at all. Universities, in particular, have no excuse for specifying double-spacing in submitted dissertations: LaTeX is a typesetting system, not a typewriter-substitute, and can (properly used) make single-spaced text even more easily readable than double-spaced typewritten text. If you have any influence on your university’s system (for example, through your dissertation supervisor), it may be worth attempting to get the rules changed (at least to permit a “well-designed book” format).

Double-spaced submissions are also commonly required when submitting papers to conferences or journals. Fortunately (judging by the questions from users in this author’s department), this demand is becoming less common.

Documentation of setspace appears as TeX comments in the package file itself.

setspace.sty
macros/latex/contrib/setspace/setspace.sty; catalogue entry

This answer last edited: 2013-10-28


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This is FAQ version 3.28, released on 2014-06-10.