When working with area text in Illustrator, I sometimes use the space after option. This makes it more obvious when I create a line break, as illustrator automatically inserts a paragraph break as well.

Is there a way to create a simple line break, without having to space or tab your way to the end of the line?

1 Answer 1


These are called soft returns (or forced line breaks) and are achieved via SHIFT+ENTER, as opposed to the usual hard returns achieved with a simple ENTER key.

Note that inserting a soft return does not end a paragraph like a hard return does. You can insert as many soft returns as you need and you are still in the same paragraph. This means only hard returns (simple ENTER's) are followed by the "space after" paragraph setting.

Additionally, hitting CTRL+ALT+I will show/hide these hidden (non-printing) characters, so you always know where you have soft/hard returns, spaces, tabs, etc.

soft hard return

  • Ah, for some reason I didn't think to try that!
    – fadelm0
    Feb 14, 2017 at 21:22
  • This shortcut also works in InDesign and even MS Word, etc. You should never have to space or tab your way to the next line, there are "cleaner" ways to play with your text.
    – Lucian
    Feb 14, 2017 at 21:29

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