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Generally speaking, does there exist an "optimal" line height as a proportion of how high the text is, for maximum readability?

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MS Word 2010 has a default of 1.5 lines, IIRC. I find it too much, though. It depends on the font. Fonts with large ascenders/desenders need a bit more line spacing. – Mateen Ulhaq Jan 6 '11 at 3:28
The answer to this is more complex than it might appear. For a start, there is not a single measure of type height - there's the 'point size' or em (which is a relative unit, fixed only with respect to a given typeface), the cap height, the ascender height, the x-height, etc... – e100 Jan 6 '11 at 14:26
up vote 3 down vote accepted

1.2 ems is standard accepted for best readability. Often it gets to be a bit bigger on websites.

longer lines of text can benefit from more spacing as well (easier to find the next line as you're reading)

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There isn't a 'standard' as it depends on many other factors--namely the type style, the line length, the size of the type, etc. '1.2' is a safe start, but not a universal rule by any means. – DA01 Feb 23 '13 at 0:56
definitely. I guess it depends how 'generally' we're speaking – Damon Feb 23 '13 at 0:58
Ha! True. Good point. "generally speaking" it's certainly a valid answer. – DA01 Feb 23 '13 at 1:15

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