Published on [Permalink]
Reading time: 1 minute
Posted in:

Fix the line length

Here’s an instant tip to make your document easier to read. Set the margins and font-size so that the length of each line is around 65 characters.

That’s two and a half alphabets.


A line length of about 65 characters is optimal for reading. Lines that are much longer than 65-70 characters are harder to read, involving more movement of the eyes and possibly the head, too.

This is why newspapers and magazines set their text into columns. Well-designed websites do this, too.

Unfortunately, the default template in Microsoft Word (11 point text with narrow margins) gives a line length of about 90 characters. You should fix that.

I recommend you change your default document to have left and right margins of 30mm.

Depending on the font you use you will need to set it to 13 points (e.g. Arial) or 14 points (e.g. Calibri or Times New Roman) to get the number of characters close to 65.

If you are creating a landscape document, unless the font size is very big you’re going to need to put the text into columns (or a table) to keep the line length reasonable, and readable.

Have you already tried setting the line length to 65 characters? How did it go?

Gary Bandy Limited is a company registered in Cardiff, number 5660437.

Privacy policy