I don't mean in a manuscript or submission or anything like that--I mean in the actual novels we read. I googled it and keep getting different answers. In all the publishers I like--New Directions, Vintage, Grove/Atlantic--it seems to be 1.15 to 1.25, but I would like a definitive answer. I'm trying to mirror the exact look as I write, because it helps trick my brain into thinking I'm important. Yes, I said it. I need to lie to myself.

After I write it, I can just format it to whatever the house style calls for, but for right now, I want to look like I'm writing Journey to the End of the Night.

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    The line spacing depends on the novel. There isn't a set standard. Jul 20, 2017 at 20:14
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    probably best advice is to find the spacing specifically for that novel you want to pretend you are writing and go with that. As you noticed, the spacing varies, so just find the spacing for your novel and use that :)
    – ggiaquin16
    Jul 20, 2017 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


Typographers don't call it "line spacing." They call it "leading." Comfortable leading depends on the font style, the size of its ascenders and descenders, and the physical size of the text on the printed page (regrettably, all 12 point fonts are not the same physical height).

When I typeset books I usually add 1.25-2.00 points to the default leading for the font because most fonts are too tightly designed for comfortable reading.

Finally, @ggiaquin's advice is good, but remember that you can't simply duplicate the leading without also duplicating the font size. You need to compare both the physical size of the characters to the whitespace surrounding them. It's actually a bit difficult to duplicate commercially typesetting without the ability to recognize the font face. That comes with practice or a scanner and one of the many websites that will accept the scan and tell you what the font (they think) is.

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    The best way to approximate this in Word would be to simply type out a page of a book and play with the sizing till it fills the page. A few books do say what typeface they used in setting the book, so that'd be a help. Jul 21, 2017 at 4:46

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