Paragraph Spacing in OneNote 2010: Here’s how

I saw this tweet the other day and wanted to respond. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I figured it would be easier to blog some images than go through twitter + email.

Here's the tweet:


OneNote 2010 has paragraph spacing and here is where to find it. In OneNote 2010, click the Paragraph Alignment button on the Home tab:


Paragraph spacing options are the bottom most selection.


Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,


Comments (38)

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Paragraph Spacing Options… menu item is grayed out for no reason that I can ascertain.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good catch – this option is not available if you are using a OneNote 2007 format notebook.  You can upgrade it to 2010 format by right clicking it properties change to 2010 format.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Any idea on where I can change the defaults for this?  

    I would love to have it default to 6,6,0.  When I do lawschool outlines the text is pretty dense and the extra spacing between paragraphs helps me follow along.

    Even after you set it for a text box, when you continue to type the line spacing reverts back to 0,0,0 and you have to set it for the text box all over again.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is not customizable within OneNote.  If you need rich formatting, I think Word would be more suited for your needs.  I'll pass this along as a suggestion for future versions of OneNote, though.

  5. Anonymous says:


    Darn, I was hoping there was something I could change in the registry that would solve my only real gripe with OneNote (okay one of two, the second being that search results aren't highlighted in printouts sent to onenote).  I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my question.  I was beginning to spend my free time learning more about Windows Registry so I could search for a way to fix it myself.  You've saved me a lot time.  🙂  

    I don't usually need formatting to be any richer than OneNote already provides.  I would just prefer to have the ability to set defaults for the settings it already allows the manipulation of.  


    I'm not sure how others use OneNote, but I use it to centralize information, from lots of different sources in a variety of different formats, into one easy to access location.  OneNote has proven to be very useful for such a task, but its problem is in making that information useful later.

    For instance, I find a law review article that seems like it contains a lot of information I want, but don't currently have the time to go through it.  To send it to OneNote I may (1) link to it and hope the website hosting it has it available when I finally get time to read it, (2) print it to OneNote and preserve the article in a format usually most suited for readability (font type, color, spacing, etc.), or (3) "cntrl-a" and paste it into a page in OneNote.

    The problem with (2) is that as an image the text becomes difficult to read actively (e.g. highlighting, selecting certain passages for coping elsewhere, and finding key words).  The problem with (3) is that if I paste and "keep source" formatting and the article is of any length then it could take a considerable amount of time to complete.  If I do (3) as "merge" then I usually get the results I am after minus the paragraph spacing.  If I do (3) as "unformatted" text then the process is lightning quick, but all of the spacing, colors, fonts, and spacing are lost to my default OneNote settings.

    Merge has proven to be the most useful for me, but I always end up going back and adjusting the paragraph spacing.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the comments.  I'll pass this along as suggestions/feedback for future improvements.


  7. Anonymous says:


    I would like to second The_buff's request for being able to change the default paragraph spacing in OneNote 2010 (or later), either globally or on a Notebook / Section / Page basis.  I love OneNote!  Keep up the great work.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the feedback.  I'll pass this suggestion along to the designers.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I would like to have a possibility to apply different color to paragraph…not just section. Is it possible? Now, it is possible just to change font color or text background color.

  10. JohnGuin says:

    I assume you mean change the background color of an outline container, right?  That is not possible in OneNote 2010.

    You can apply highlighting to a paragraph, though, and that might help differentiate the paragraphs visually.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I was thinking about outline container. Please, include that feature in next release 🙂



  12. JohnGuin says:

    I'll forward the request to our PM team.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I would also like thebuff's suggestion of default paragraph spaces – its a bit irritating having to change the space every time you add a new line.


  14. Anonymous says:

    The problem for me is, when I pasted my forum post into OneNote, the paragraph marks were lost….  I was posting from's forum, which doesn't seem to support automatic spell checking from inside IE, so maybe it's the site's fault for not being compatible with OneNote….  Funny old world, isn't it?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you!  This was driving me nuts!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the solution. And thanks for including screenshots!

  17. J-Mac-01 says:

    Unfortunately the default paragraph spacing has been discussed and suggested/requested at least since the release of OneNote 2007. OneNote 2010, while adding some small improvements, did not really address most of the more glaring issues that users have been waiting for.

    Personally, when I requested that pasted content from web pages maintain line breaks within OneNote, I was told that if I needed "advanced formatting" such as paragraph line spacing then I should be using Word instead! I don’t need any advanced formatting; just don’t remove the line breaks from pasted content in web clips or content copied from web pages. Now I know that isn't a difficult coding task!



  18. JohnGuin says:

    Hi Jim – I passed your comments to our designers.  Thanks for the feedback and thanks for using OneNote.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Adding my vote to defaulting the paragraph spacing to something other than zero. Also, in preserving formatting pasted from other sources.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thanks – I'll send your comments to our designers.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Adding my vote, too, to request the ability to change the default paragraph spacing in OneNote 2010 (or later). I love using OneNote to collect a lot of info in a central location. MS Word is not in the same classification as OneNote so that's not really an option. I love OneNote except for this one thing. I would be happy to modify my registry to make this change, too, as someone else suggested.

  22. JohnGuin says:

    I'll pass this along to our design team.  Thanks!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Essentially, if there's an option that OneNote allows us to modify, we should have a way to set a default value. That seems like a no-brain-er to me. I came in search of default paragraph spacing like many before me, but honestly, if we can set it manually on a case-by-case basis, we (the users) ought to be able to set a custom default value.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Sharing this comment with the team.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Me too!

    One Note would definitely benefit from allowing users to specify some basic defaults such as Paragraph spacing. Doesn't have to try to be a word processor, just a little bit configurable.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Yet another voter. Farming off to Word is not an option. These products are different beasts as the MS team surely knows. It seems like a fob-off to just say "use something else"

    It's the simplest thing in the world for programmers to handle this sort of thing. Storing a few numbers and actually referring to them in the code is trivial. If, somehow, the developers have made it horrendously difficult (can't think how) then they should be demoted to junior programmer and sent back to Programming 101.

    I thought the days of "Constants aren't, Variables won't." is long gone.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Adding my voice to the request for the ability to specifiy default paragraph spacing…  

    I use the "before/after/at least dialog box, but even within the same paragraph box, OneNote seems to refuse to remember it and I am constantly re-selecting the text and re-applying the formatting.  

    I find OneNote useful overall, but there are a few (nearly) crippling liabilities–the lack of customizable default spacing being one of them.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I agree with others here. This is one feature that Microsoft need to add in the next release of OneNote. Without it, it is not very readable and presentable when editing, viewing or presenting (like to students in the class). I'm switching back to Evernote for now until such feature is implemented. I wanted to switch to OneNote because Evernote's do not use paragraph tag which making copying and pasting a mess and editing table is limited.

    Is there a way for us to submit this as a feedback?

  29. Anonymous says:

    You can submit feedback here.  I sent your text to the rest of the team.  Or you can email me comments as well – up to you.

  30. Anonymous says:

    The Onetastic add-on allows the creation of customized macros. Maybe an enterprising user could figure out how to make paragraph spacing a default?  That would be greatly appreciated by everybody.  Meanwhile, I still place my confidence in trusty old iMiser.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Adding my vote to the pretty please have paragraph space defaults (Would save so much time, and after all… that is why we are using OneNote ) – Thanks!

  32. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with the persons asking for a personalization of the default paragraph settings of OneNote. It's bizarre that even in Office 2013, this has not been implemented. This seems pretty easy to fix…

  33. SiliconMana says:

    Ditto to the above requests for Line Spacing and Paragraph Spacing options on Ribbon.

    Given the breadth of functions available in One Note, it is astounding that there has been no response from a Dev on this thread for over a year, nor that the Mac version of One Note is now more dated than Android version. As a PC/Mac/Android paying subscription user, am very disappointed in the lack of cross platform development.

  34. Anonymous says:

    This paragraph spacing issue is SUCH an ongoing annoyance.  What can possibly be the problem.  Even if the developers simply changed the default paragraph spacing FROM 0,0,0 to 6,6,0 at least the formatting would be correct most of the time.  As it stands now text paragraph spacing is correct none of the time.

    I am seriously looking at EverNote now and even considering returning to my old favourite, used without issue for years named IMiser Research Assistant.  But guess what.  Exporting data from OneNote apparently presents another major headache.

    Wouldn't it just be simpler for the developers to fix the program or issue a patch or even just provide the registry information so we frustrated users can reset the default ourselves?

  35. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Carl Starr, at least make the default spacing 6,6,0 – the text is too solid as it stands. I use OneNote to collaaborate with colleagues on writing articles for our web sites. We end up putting in blank lines, for readability, that we have to delete when we upload the article. This paragraph spacing issues is creating extra work.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I would like to submit and re-iterate a comment above from March 29, 2012.

    When pasting content from web pages, *please* maintain line breaks within OneNote.  

    Pasted content is illegible without paragraph and line spacing, which render this OneNote feature unusable.  

    OneNote is a tool to increase productivity.  Reformatting pasted content manually by every OneNote users is not justifiable nor tolerable given today's technology, and given this concern has been raised for many years.

    I sincerely ask to team to take action and deliver a patch.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Before you comment further at this blog, I found out that this blog was closed.

    John Guin is no longer at OneNote team or Microsoft according to his blog on Sep 26, 2014.

    Comments here likely would not get to the OneNote team.

  38. 22curious says:

    WL – This thread needs to reach the OneNote team at MicroSoft one way or another.

    I totally agree, "OneNote is a tool to increase productivity.  Reformatting pasted content manually by every OneNote users is not justifiable nor tolerable given today's technology, and given this concern has been raised for many years." and am with you in frustration that this 'bug' that persists in OneNote2013, in the year 2015 remain unfixed.

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