Align text and horizontal lines in a writer document

I’m creating a 5 line form in a Writer document. Keeping line spacing, text and horizontal lines is proving to be a daunting task. Any pointers on how to do this?

What do you mean by “form”? Is this simply a text document to be manually filled out, or a document containing fields that will be populated from linked data?

This answer may not apply if the problem experienced is the result of a field-specific spacing issue. What follows is more general advice on how to align content in a text document.

  • Fonts are measured in points and it is significantly easier to get things to align when all items in a document relate to the same unit of measure. For this reason, always use points as the unit of measure. Avoid using inches, centimetres, millimetres, picas, or any other unit.
  • Use a default font size that is readily divided (e.g., 12 points) rather than a prime number (e.g., 11 points). This is the key unit size all other measurements are related to.
  • Use a Fixed line height that is a convenient multiple of the key and that is also readily divided e.g., 15 (1+1/4), 16 (1+1/3), or 18 (1+1/2) points. Avoid using the inexact definitions of Single, 1.5 lines, Double, etc.
  • Set all headings and other styles to use the same line height multiplier (e.g., 1+1/4, 1+1/3, or 1+1/2). For example, if Heading 1 style is to be 24 point in size, with a line height 1+1/3 multiple, it will require a 32 point line height.
  • Add leading (before / after spacing) to all headings and other styles to produce a total height that is an exact multiple of the key e.g., in the prior example a leading totalling 4 points is required to achieve 36 points (3 times the key).
  • There are 72 points to the inch, which is 6 times the usual key. For similar reasons, other exact multiples, such as 36, 108, and 144 points, are handy to know and are also readily divided and related to the various line height multipliers.
  • Turn on registration if required as this can sometimes help with basic text alignment i.e., it can smooth out some errors in calculation. I generally only do this for the Text Body style, so that I have a baseline to relate my other definitions back to. For aligning a few lines of text and some drawn lines this is probably not necessary.
  • The thickness of border lines (in the paragraph definition) is always in addition to the adjacent / surrounded content, thus a 1 point line above and below a line of text requires additional space that must be compensated for, usually by reducing the leading.
  • Using definitions (especially the multiples) like those indicated also makes it easier to manage vertical measurements when anchoring items, such as horizontal drawn lines.