Sunday, January 1, 2023

Paragraph vs Normal spacing

Google gave us a perplexing, nay, maddening issue about the spaces between paragraphs when it introduced the latest iteration of Blogger in 2020.

Blogger provides a drop-down menu of paragraph styles that are mostly self explanatory, eg Heading, Subheading, and so forth.

But there are two choices for regular body text, Paragraph and Normal.

What are these for, and what should you use?

All You Need to Know

In most themes, Paragraph has an extra line space (not an extra line, just spacing) before each paragraph.

Normal does not.

If you type a paragraph that is formatted as paragraph, and hit return, and type some more, there will be a horizontal space between the two paragraphs.

If you do the same thing in Normal, you'll get a new line, but not extra space. You can add the space by hitting return a second time.

Most Blog themes are formatted so that tapping two returns in Normal looks exactly the same as one return in Paragraph.

I use Paragraph, mostly, except if I want to shrink the space before a paragraph. 

For instance, the paragraph after each section heading is in Normal. But the next paragraph, if there is one, is in Paragraph.

This is my idiosyncratic choice. I've inherited it as a writer's habit from MS Word. 

Here, it isn't better than using all Normal and adding in the inter-paragraph space manually. Do that if you like.

But if you want to understand the difference, and why your line spacing sometimes goes ahoo, now you do.

More Than You Need to Know

These Blogger styles map to conventional HTML tags, as styled by the blog theme for blog posts.

"Heading," for instance, is the H2 tag. This is the same tag used for the title of the blog! (In this theme; newer themes use H1.) But this blog theme styles H2 very differently in a blog post.

Paragraph corresponds to the <p> tag. Normal to the <div> tag.

These are basic HTML building blocks. Cascading style sheets can render them differently in different parts of the blog.

You can change how these are formatted, and how they behave in the document, by changing their CSS.

Or, now that you understand how they work, you can just use them without confusion or frustration.


  1. I’ve been under the impression that it’s now necessary to use < br > or < br / > to get line breaks. After tinkering with older posts that have line breaks created by hitting Return, I’ve had to add < br > < br > to get the breaks to display properly.Am I missing something?

    1. For most blog themes, the behavior will be as described above. I can't think of a use case for adding the line break
      . Is three one? You can add
      if you need one.

  2. If only it worked like this for me, but I ALWAYS get prargraphs spacings, also wíth Normal set as choice, whenever I just press Enter.
    If I mark everything, and then select Normal, all the < p >'s turn into; < /div>< div style="text-align: left;"> and centering, right aligning, adding photos and a zillion other things gives me paragraph formatting right back. I AM SO FRUSTRATED by this!!!

    1. Blogger does insist on making decisions for us. I find it switches to Normal after inserting things like photos and the jump break.

      But generally it seems to work as I describe above. I recommend that you change paragraph styles one paragraph at a time—so, don't "mark everything."

    2. Don't know why I was anonymous. For me it switches to Paragraph whenever I do anything but write plain text. And I do not ever! want paragraph formatting. Is there a sure-fire way of disabling it - may contain coding - if only I can get Normal forever. If I try changing one Paragraph at a time - then it turns into this jumble: < p>Abc de fgh < /p>< p>< br />< /p>
      I use at least as long as I do composing my posts, cleaning up the HTML afterwards. It sure is a P.I.T.A.

    3. PS. Which theme would you reccomend for ease of formatting? So far I have used only Simple, but it seems not to be living up to it's name any more.

    4. @Charlotte, that HTML string (with the
      tag etc.) is how Blogger standardly adds a space between paragraphs in the Normal style. (Assuming you hit "return" twice at the end of the paragraph.)

      The HTML for the Paragraph style is a bit cleaner.

    5. @PS Charlotte: I am not aware of differences in how Google's blog themes treat these styles.

      Plenty of differences, just not about that.

      I'd say it is user's choice.

  3. Until a few days ago I had < br /> for new line, if I remembered holding down SHIFT while pressing ENTER. For some days Blogger then inserted a < div> in the beginnig of each paragraph, but that long string is a totally new thing.