Double or Single Spacing Between Bullet Points

I was asked if this:

Singlespacedbullets

Is better than this:

Doublespacedbullets

Most slide decks that pass through our department have the bullets single spaced, as this is the default in the corporate template, which makes it the defacto corporate style, and most of our SME developers don’t care one way or the other. But occasionally we see that a developer has double- or triple-spaced bullets. Usually, a developer who does this cares a lot, arguing either that it increases readability or that it avoids crowded text atop an awkward chasm of white.

We try and steer developers toward the corporate style absent a good reason to deviate, so I did a quick search to see if there was anything in the typography literature to help out. I was surprised that I couldn’t find much about line spacing as it relates to bullets, line spacing, and readability. One article suggests that short bullets don’t need much text between them, but longer bulleted blocks of text probably do, which, oddly, is kind of the opposite of what I see developers doing–I think because the biggest driver of the double spacing is discontent with the large amount of white space that can result from single spacing a small number of short bullets.

Ultimately this is probably minutia, which is why no one has written anything about it or researched it, but if anyone has any pointers to the typography literature on this stuff, I’d appreciate it.

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2 thoughts on “Double or Single Spacing Between Bullet Points

  1. Ellen

    If I were going to make copies of the slides available for note-taking, I’d double space. (Does anyone even do that any more?) (And if I were going to do that, I would be sure to use a light background with dark type.) Otherwise, I’d single- or double-space to make the slide look good, to my eyes. I think that sometimes single spacing allows the developer to put too much on a single slide. And whatever you do, don’t have so many bullet points that the text overrides anything at the bottom of the slide, like your corporate logo.

    Reply
    1. robertmulcahy Post author

      Hi, Ellen. All great points! We provide electronic participant guides that have form fields for taking notes, so it is rare for our learners to have printed copies to take notes on during class, but it would be good for us to remember that they could be printed out and marked up later.

      Reply

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