\baselineskip \baselinestretch

\baselineskip is a length command which specifies the minimum space between the botton of two successive lines in a paragraph. Its value may be automatically reset by LaTeX, for example, by font changes in the text. The value used for an entire paragraph is the value in effect at the blank line or command which ends the paragraph unit.

\baselinestretch scales the value of \baselineskip. Its default value is 1.0 but it may be reset with a \renewcommand command. If one wants to change the spacing in a document one should reset \baselinestretch and not \baselineskip as the latter may be reset automatically by LaTeX to account for local variations in the text, but it is always scaled by the former. In principle, "double spacing" can be obtained by \renewcommand{\baselinestretch}{2}.

See also: Lengths
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Sheldon Green, agxsg@giss.nasa.gov, 23 Jun 1995.