A full measure, also known as leading or line spacing, refers to the distance between the leading edge of one line of text and the leading edge of the next. This term concerns typewriters, typesetting machines, and word processing.
Regarding typewriters, the full measure denotes the distance from the platen. This cylindrical steel roller feeds the paper to the carriage return mechanism that moves the carriage back to the left margin. For typesetting machines, it signifies the baseline-to-baseline distance between lines of type—the imaginary line on which letters “sit.”
In word processing, the full measure is the distance from the top of one line of text to the top of the following line. This measure is also called the leading.
Typically standardized at 12 points (1/6th of an inch), this measurement determines how much space exists between lines of text. Some word processors offer flexibility with adjusting this spacing using tools like “Line Spacing” in options such as single (1.0), 1.5x, double (2.0), or triple (3.0).
The significance lies in how these measurements influence readability. When lines are too close together—forming a solid block—it becomes challenging for readers’ eyes to navigate through text coherently. Conversely, excessive spacing makes content appear scattered across pages and equally hard to read.