Frequently Asked Question List for TeX

# Why doesn’t `\linespread` work?

The command `\linespread{factor}` is supposed to multiply the current `\baselineskip` by ‹factor›; but, to all appearances, it doesn’t.

In fact, the command is equivalent to `\renewcommand{`\baselinestretch`}{factor}`: written that way, it somehow feels less surprising that the effect isn’t immediate. The `\baselinestretch` factor is only used when a font is selected; a mere change of `\baselinestretch` doesn’t change the font, any more than does the command `\fontsize{size}{baselineskip}` — you have to follow either command with `\selectfont`. So:

``````\fontsize{10}{12}%
\selectfont
``````

or:

``````\linespread{1.2}%
\selectfont
``````

Of course, a package such as `setspace`, whose job is to manage the baseline, will deal with all this stuff — see “managing double-spaced documents”. If you want to avoid `setspace`, beware the behaviour of linespread changes within a paragraph: read “`\baselineskip` is a paragraph parameter”.