Better Blogging / Blogging Tips / paragraphs / Tips

WordPress Formatting and Spacing

unhappy There are times when bloggers are so frustrated they are close to  “tearing their hair out” when it comes to attempting to correctly format prose and poetry in the WordPress blogs.  When they arrive in the support forum Volunteers steer them to the support documentation entry Advanced HTML.

If you are copying and pasting from a word processing document like Microsoft WORD into new posts and pages in your WordPress.COM blog,  note that the paste as WORD button was removed from the Visual editor. If you use the Paste as plain text button then a special cleanup process will run to remove any special formatting and HTML tags that may otherwise change your text. Therefore you have to do your own formatting and spacing.

Whether or not you are copying and pasting go to > Dashboard > Settings > Writing and enable this setting:
__ WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically
“save changes”

Blog editors and word processors are not the same and do not work the same way. The web standard is one blank line only, so you cannot add more blank lines by pressing return repeatedly like you would do with a typewriter or in a word processing application.

Quick Tips

If you are formatting either text or poetry from within the Tiny MCE editor in your WordPress blog here is a summary of some handy tips.

In some themes you will get double spacing between paragraphs ie. a single click of ENTER will give you a double spaced line.

If you are working in the Visual editor, to get single spacing between paragraphs hold the SHIFT key down and simultaneously click ENTER at the end of the paragraph.

If you are working in the Text HTML editor, a single click of ENTER will give you a single-spaced line, and two clicks of ENTER will result in double spaced lines.

At the end of any line where you do not want a blank line in between that line and the next, hold the SHIFT key down and simultaneously click ENTER. That will insert an HTML br tag.

When you get to the end of a stanza and want a blank line between, just click ENTER once.

When you create a new post, always make sure the Format Style tool is set to Paragraph before you start typing. It’s in the Visual editor Row 2 first position “style“. See the illustration there. If you forget to do that then edit the post, highlight all in the Visual editor, select Paragraph from the Format tool, switch editor to Text then switch back to Visual and click Update.

Having trouble? There may be times when the editor needs to be reset for “Paragraph” spacing. If that happens highlight all text in the editor, and from the “Style” pulldown on the left end of the lower row of icons in the Visual editor, select “Paragraph” and normal paragraph formatting will be applied.

Click for more on New Post Editor Improvements.

Space between lines
Space between paragraphs
WORD and WordPress
No paragraph spacing in post-page editor
Formatting text pt. 1: blank lines, alignment, wrap-around, two columns
Formatting text pt. 2: indents and blockquotes
Formatting text pt. 3: space between lines, characters, and words
Formatting text pt. 4: transformations
Formatting text pt. 5: color, size, and font

31 thoughts on “WordPress Formatting and Spacing

  1. Pingback: One very cool really hot site for WordPress bloggers | The Balsamean

  2. Pingback: o I didn’t know that | zhanger

  3. I forgot to thank you for the font list you provided above. I prefer anything over New Times Roman so it was very helpful. A lot of reading on how to get my blog started … I’m glad I found your site (learning the proper lingo as well)!

  4. At the top of this forum is a link to Formatting Poetry, which gives samples of HTML codes. It is as simple as switching my editor from visual to HTML and inserting the codes where they need to go for the desired effect?
    I didn’t post a sample of the codes with my question as I thought I read somwhere that we shouldn’t included HTML codes with our posts, correct me if I’m wrong?

  5. Hi there,

    I typed my posts with shift/enter and they still appear to be double spaced?

    I thought it might be the theme at first. I went back and edited all my posts, bringing the first word of each paragraph to the end of the previous paragraph by hitting the back space button, and clicking shift/enter again.

    Can you tell me if there is a problem still with double spacing, or it’s just the theme?

    A second question, which might be better if I did a search is that I’m not a fan of “new times roman,” which I think is the default font. “Twenty Eleven” has a nicer font, but I don’t like the cloud icon (for commenting).

  6. I don’t know. We’ll see if this works. I’m gonna try this one more time, and then I’m gonna pull my hair out and start crying like the little baby I am. :)

      • Thanks timethief, for your personal reply. Just a quickie (I hope I am not stealing your time!) –
        I believe I need to purchase the Custom CSS Add-on from WordPress. The only other way to accomplish this would be to put HTML code with EVERY paragraph. Not very practical. So I guess I am going the Custom CSS way. Am I correct?

        • I think you ought to post to the support forums and there either thesacredpath or designsimply will tell you if this can be achieved with CSS editing or not. You can even use the “CSS preview” mode and try before you buy a custom design upgrade.

  7. I go crazy (and waste a lot of time) trying to insert photos into my blog posts and pages that don’t make the lines and spacing go nutz!

  8. heck I knew nothing about the SHIFT key thing nor that a document existed on formatting poetry. I work in the Visual editor and I have this practice where I go into the HTML view to delete a double space if I need a single space instead. Which is a most annoying practice. But now I don’t have to! Thanks and really, all the best.

  9. a nice little tip to know. I could have used this the time I published song lyrics. Thanks for the tip TiTi.

    • Hi Dave,
      The entry was sketchy at first but has been progressively beefed up. I don’t recall the original date that it appeared or the dates on which it was updated. I have noticed that many things Panos and I have blogged on eventually appear in the support docs.

  10. I just recently learned the shift/enter thing. Little things like that are great to know. Thanks for the mini lessons TT. I look forward to learning more about WordPress.

Comments are closed.