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I would like to have my whole document showing a blank line (or space) between paragraphs and no indentation. I know how to do it line by line, but is there a way to change that with just one or a few lines at the beginning of the document? Like a package you can install, or a new command?

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+1 : perfect question. –  tugberk Oct 1 '11 at 19:47
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5 Answers

up vote 62 down vote accepted

Adding

\usepackage{parskip}

to the preamble of your document (the part between \documentclass{...} and \begin{document} will set the paragraphs to have no indentation and a bit of space between them.

Note that this isn't a complete solution, because there may be elements in your document that you don't want this format to apply to (footnotes, for example). A proper solution would involve (effectively) writing a new document class.

You can read a bit about how the parskip package works by looking at the comments in parskip.sty itself.

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It is much better to use the parskip package and then to tweak anything that it doesn't settle for you than it is to start by tweaking values yourself. The parskip author went through some of the pains of figuring out the ramifications of altering various lengths; there's little point duplicating that work and most LaTeX user's won't ever otherwise need to be sufficiently familiar with the internals to do it anyway. –  vanden Jul 26 '10 at 20:14
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Also see the memoir and KOMA-Script classes, where this is built into the classes as an option. –  Joseph Wright Jul 26 '10 at 20:14
    
@vanden: yes and no. It's true that it's generally better to use packages rather than hack at things oneself. But in this case (and as the parskip package author acknowledges), the package can't do a complete job, and so if the difference between the two techniques bites you, you're probably half-way to worrying about a new class, so that perhaps that bullet needs to be bitten sooner rather than later. –  Norman Gray Jul 26 '10 at 21:39
    
+1 : perfect answer. –  StrawberryFieldsForever Aug 20 '13 at 22:22
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You can use

\setlength{\parindent}{0pt}

\setlength{\parskip}{\baselineskip}

in your preamble if you're not using any other fancy (or not so fancy) formatting such as tables, etc. Apparently the package parskip fixes most of the issues that this setup can cause if you do have more complicated formats within your document. I've never used that package myself, though, so I can't speak from personal experience.

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This already fails when using a simple \begin{itemize}. The package Parskip is the way to go. –  Christopher Oezbek Aug 13 '10 at 16:44
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To change the amount of space between paragraphs, you want to change \parskip

\setlength{\parskip}{\baselineskip}

Will add an extra line between paragraphs.

\setlength{\parindent}{0pt}

will remove the indent at the start of paragraphs.

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Some classes support switching to vertical space between paragraphs instead of indent paragraphs. For example all KOMA-Script classes support option parskip with several values:

\documentclass[parskip=false]{scrartcl}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\begin{document}
\tableofcontents
\section{parskip=false}
\lipsum[1-2]

\section{parskip=full}\KOMAoptions{parskip=full}\selectfont
\lipsum[1-2]

\section{parskip=full-}\KOMAoptions{parskip=full-}\selectfont
\lipsum[1-2]

\section{parskip=full+}\KOMAoptions{parskip=full+}\selectfont
\lipsum[1-2]

\section{parskip=full*}\KOMAoptions{parskip=full*}\selectfont
\lipsum[1-2]

\section{parskip=half}\KOMAoptions{parskip=half}\selectfont
\lipsum[1-2]

\section{parskip=half-}\KOMAoptions{parskip=half-}\selectfont
\lipsum[1-2]

\section{parskip=half+}\KOMAoptions{parskip=half+}\selectfont
\lipsum[1-2]

\section{parskip=half*}\KOMAoptions{parskip=half*}\selectfont
\lipsum[1-2]
\end{document}

Values full and half distinguish in the amount of space between the paragraphs. The postfixes influence the minimum amount of free horizontal space at the last line of a paragraph.

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If you are using the memoir class then no there's no need to \usepackage{parskip} as it's already bundled in. All you need to do is put this after \begin{document}

%% set paragaph breaks to be blank lines and don't indent first line
\nonzeroparskip
\setlength{\parindent}{0pt}

See page 47-8 of the memoir user guide for details: http://bay.uchicago.edu/CTAN/macros/latex/contrib/memoir/memman.pdf

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