Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 30 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals
60 comments

How Many Spaces at the End of a Sentence? Microsoft Weighs In

How many spaces should you insert after a period? (One!) It’s a debate that has raged for ages, with some advocating for one (Our preference!), two, and if you go back far enough, even three spaces. There’s no consensus on why the number of spaces after a sentence matters—it seems merely to be a typographic style that has changed over the years. But for at least the last few decades, a single space after a period has become the norm (Yay!). Now Microsoft is weighing in on the debate, setting future versions of Microsoft Word to mark two spaces after a period as an error (Finally!). The company has been testing this feature for a while already and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. But if you’re still in the two-space camp, you’ll be able to turn off the suggestion. And regardless, I recommend reading the comments for a lot more background and opinion (in both directions).

Read original article

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For 29 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

Comments About How Many Spaces at the End of a Sentence? Microsoft Weighs In

Notable Replies

  1. Apocalypse! :scream: At least for those of us of a certain age and training. I still cringe when newspapers refer to children as kids.

  2. As with pretty mich all things typography, LaTeX gets it right. I never use two spaces after the period when I type up something, but l always recognize that LaTeX ends up rendering spaces slightly larger after periods. There, interestingly, there’s the reverse annoyance. People who aren’t aware of the way TeX typesets, don’t realize that a period that’s not used to end a sentence (such as “i.e.” or “Fig. 1”) will cause the space to become overly large. You can use ~ or “backslash,” to prevent that, but some, either for lack of knowledge or for laziness, don’t do it which then results in ugly spaces. Pet peeve of mine. Especially when I see it in esteemed journals.

  3. Microsoft is 100% correct here. Steve Jobs understood how critical proportional type on a personal computer would be not just to graphic arts businesses, but to any kind of personal or business communications. He emphasized this many times throughout the decades, including in the brilliant and moving commencement speech he made at Stanford before his death:

    "Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

    None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do."

    On other occasions Steve also acknowledged acquiring a Bauhaus esthetic during his time at Reed, which certainly engraved “form follows function” in proportionally spaced Helvetica into his brain. He was very well aware that the letter m takes up a multiple amount of horozontal space than the letter I, and that in monospaced type letters line up in columns. He was also aware that monospaced type takes up an awful lot more room on a page than proportional type. He understood that monospaced type slows reading down and is more likely to tire readers a lot more quickly, and that it will take up a lot more space. All these have an affect on comprehension, especially in long form reading.

    If you have any books printed before 1984 nearby please take a look at them. And do a search for reproductions of beautiful ancient calligraphic manuscripts like “The Book Of Kells.” You’ll see they all contain proportional letters and the calligraphy does not have double spacing between sentences. Even Gutenberg designed and used only proportional fonts. It’s why “1984 would not be like 1984.”

    Double spacing between sentences creates a disturbing interruption. It gets even more disturbing if you have quotation marks, question marks, etc.

    P.S. If I wasn’t an OK Boomer myself I would have started this rant about how only OK Boomers don’t understand why proportional type makes two spaces between sentences unnecessary.

  4. I’ll forever be a Double Spacer! _ _ I find it more readable.

  5. In Japan, there is an argument whether you should insert a space character between an English word and a Japanese word, and between a number and a Japanese character.

    (There is absolutely no need of any space character at all, in a pure Japanese text.)

    Here is an example. You can see the following at the top of TidBITS-Japanese Issue #1510 (I translated the top blurb) in jp.tidbits.com/TidBITS-jp-1510.html

    新型 iPhone SE が欲しくてたまらない人に良いニュースだが、Apple は先週第2世代の iPhone SE を最新のプロセッサを搭載して $399 という価格で発表した。

    As you see, there are space characters on both sides of alphabetical words, and on both sides of “$399.” However, some people insist that you must omit those space characters:

    新型iPhone SEが欲しくてたまらない人に良いニュースだが、Appleは先週第2世代のiPhone SEを最新のプロセッサを搭載して$399という価格で発表した。

    (Of course the space between “iPhone” and “SE” is needed, but there shouldn’t be a space between “399” and “という”, they say.

    Perhaps someday they insist the same thing in the English sentence, too, and say “$399 price” is wrong and “$399price” is right: “a modern processor and a$399price.”

  6. I know I date myself as one being taught to double space. A few years ago I got into quite the argument trying to preserve the sanctity of the double space. Then I began researching style sheets used by major news/press agencies and publishers. They shared that neither is wrong or right. They stressed consistency. And, if you write for them, you must adhere to their style sheet. As of 2020, 90% or more have formally gone to the single space after a period but still use a double space after a colon (:).

  7. I learned to type way back as a freshman in high school–when the had chalkboards and those tall, upright Remington typewriters that weren’t even electrified nor did they have the letters marked on key caps (to force touch typing rather than hunt-and-peck). We were taught to use two spaces after a period. We were told it made the sentence break more readable, especially for smaller elite type (font as it were). Pica type, not so much.

    I adapted to word processing early and easily and, for years now, only put one space after the period. Word processors can (and do) adjust the spacing of letters and, depending on the font, make the text more readable (unless it is a monospaced font like Courier or Andale Mono). Two spaces after a period looks odd to me and one space after a period is so ingrained that I never think about it. Until Adam reminds me.

    One space for me. And, what does your left thumb do when touch typing? Do you hit the space bar with the right thumb? Or vice versa?

  8. Why does Japanese need no spaces?

  9. You asked: “Why does Japanese need no spaces?”
    The answer: Because the Japanese language has tons of characters, you can distinguish words easily, without a need of breaking words by spaces. The English language has only 26 characters, so you need spaces, without which you couldn’t distinguish words.

  10. For the curious who don’t wish to make type design the sinkhole of their lives, I think Robin Williams’s classic The Mac is not a Typewriter pairs superbly with Steve Jobs’s Stanford commencement address.

  11. But, an example of digital evolution, wrong on SO many levels:

    You can get a Kindle copy of Robin’s classic at amazon.com

    You cannot find The Mac is not a Typewriter at the Apple Books store.

  12. I highly recommend:

    What We See When We Read, by Peter Mendelsund
    Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works by Erik Spiekermann

    Neither of these books is a “how to” or “what you should do.” They both are focused on how typographic choices affect and color what prople think and feel. Robert Bringhurst, a poet, typographer, designer and artist, is more focused on "how to, etc. “The Elements Of Typographic Style” is heavy on good practices and advice, analysis and examples, as well as on type evolution and history.

    Anything by Ellen Lupton for more of a how to, especially Thinking With Type; the newest edition emphasizes typography for online communications. A Book Apart is all about online typography and page design. Lupton is the graphic design curator for the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Institute.

  13. Robin Williams’ books are also excellent, and they are strictly how to, and "The Mac Is Not A Typewriter is outstanding and was the first and best practical how to for type basics back in the “1984” era. She did a follow ups, and books about fonts, Illustrator, etc., also wrote an early book on design and typography for the web. And she was strictly, and very vocally, a “one space between sentences” advocate.

    One more thing…I find that any publication that is visually oriented, especially typographically oriented, will not work well in Kindle or any other ebook reader. The systems render typography really badly, and much more often than not, do not use, or even allow for, the fonts used in the original publication. And the layouts will be rendered drastically different.

  14. As i said, “wrong on SO many levels.”

    But, your response tarnishes the PDF and mobi(?) versions of print publications with the same brush. Was that your intent?

    Is Peachpit Press defunct?

  15. I responded to a suggestion about a Kindle versions of books focused on typography and page design and loaded with examples of precision typography in different sizes and a wide variety of fonts and precisely weighted and styled type, and well as illustrations. To be effective, examples need to be rendered perfectly on the page size the author/designer designated. I assumed people who use Kindles or other eReader formats and other eReaders know from experience that they do not render typography or page sizes precisely, or even anything resembling the format of a printed or a web page.

    PDF stands for “Portable Document Format,” and is not a native eReader format. An uneditable PDF book will work just fine in a web browser, or even better, in an Acrobat Reader. My recommendation was to get a book about typography and page or document design in a format that will render it correctly.

  16. Thank you, Microsoft! Next up: get folks to stop underlining on the computer.

    @tidbits17, thanks for that link. I also noticed reference to The Chicago Manual of Style, which is what got me through years of typing (both with a typewriter and then on my Macintosh) college papers for several folks.

    @jsrnephdoc, I practically wore out all those books by Robin Williams books, and I may still have those books tucked in a box here.

  17. Che? Iforonefailtounderstandyourlogic.

    Here’s a sentence in English without spaces. It is perfectly simple to distinguish the words:
    FORGODSOLOVEDTHEWORLDTHATHEGAVEHISONLYBEGOTTENSON​THATWHOSOEVERBELIEVETHINHIM​SHOULDNOTPERISH​BUTHAVEEVERLASTINGLIFE

  18. But, EPUB is an E-reader format that DOES attempt to flow text and graphics onto a computer screen. It’s what Take Control Books recommends for on-screen reading, and it does a much better job of maintaining an approximation of the way things look in print (other than page breaks). I wasn’t attempting to create an argument, just stating that there were ways of seeing an approximation of print in a visually pleasing manner while still using a computer.

    I did err in suggesting that MOBI could accomplish that, because that’s the native format for Kindle.

    And, my major point, of course, was how sad it is that Robin Williams’s excellent book can still be purchased to read on a Kindle.

    In other words, I think we’re largely in agreement.

  19. A long time ago, to assist my technical writing I obtained a copy of a 1998 NASA publication SP7084: Grammar, Punctuation, and Captilization - A Handbook for Technical Writers and Editors" ( I still can’t work out if that title was being sarcastic!)
    It is very comprehensive but doesn’t mention spaces at the end of a sentence.
    Copy here:

  20. Of course NASA typeset it in LaTeX. :heart_eyes::+1::clap:

  21. Putting two spaces after a period was a norm for typewriters. Most typewriters used a ribbon of ink and the keys didn’t alway strike the paper evenly. Adding an extra space after a period helped delineate sentences. This is especially true since a period took up as much space as any other letter. Monospace type can be a bit hard on the eyes and adding a space after a sentence helped break things up.

    However, this was never the norm for the print industry. The print industry used proportional print fonts, plus printed books tended to be clearer and crisper.

  22. I agree with this. Also, these days, I’m just happy when people choose to use periods at all!

  23. Thank goodness.

  24. I shared this link on my FB page, and I’ve never seen such an uproar. It’s as though I posted a political comment. :joy:

  25. Golly, Adam, I thought the debate was settled back in the last century, around the time Adobe PageMaker became available. On a typewriter, always two spaces. On a computer, one space, except that on a computer two spaces are acceptable if using a monospaced typewriter font.

  26. I wrote a long comment, and then discovered that the “heracliteanriver.com” article cited by “David C.” said essentially the same thing but with extensive research support. So my long comment is being posted as an essay on my own Website (www.TowerBells.org), and I’ll just make a short comment here.

    The author of the article from “The Verge” referenced by Adam’s note wrote, “Typewriters used monospaced fonts, … so the extra space after the [period] was needed to make it more apparent that sentences had ended. Word and many other similar apps make fonts proportional, so two spaces is no longer necessary.” That assertion is both factually false and logically false. It is factually false because the first typists were merely imitating what skilled typesetters had done for centuries – use wider spacing at the ends of sentences. It is logically false because if an extra space is “needed” following a period that takes up just as much width as every other character in a monospaced font, then it is even more needed after a period that takes the least possible width of any character in a proportional font.

    If you want to write with single spaces everywhere, you are certainly free to do so. And if you are an editor, it is certainly your prerogative to require all of your writers to follow your chosen style. But to assert that double spacing at the end of sentences is somehow “wrong” is to insult the intelligence of everyone who chooses to respect this particular aspect of literary history and the principles involved in it.

  27. Sadly, the Heraclitean River site went down many years ago, so if you want to link to any of its pages, you must use the wayback machine.

    I’ve updated the link in my quote of your post. You may want to do the same for the original.

  28. Editing a submission this morning, I’m reminded of a tendency I’ve noticed consistently over the past 30 years of copyediting the work of hundreds of people: Those who choose to put two spaces between sentences are far more likely to be inconsistent in that practice. Sometimes it’s one space, sometimes it’s three. One-spacers are much less likely to vary. I’m about halfway through a 256-word document right now, and already I’ve found two spots with three spaces instead of the two this person clearly intended.

  29. Yes, I discovered that, and your edit saved me from having to wrestle with the peculiarities of the Wayback Machine. So extra thanks, David.

    Carl


    David C.
    Shamino

        April 27
    

    csz_stl:
    I wrote a long comment, and then discovered that the “heracliteanriver.com” article cited by “David C.” said the essentially the same thing…

    Sadly, the Heraclitean River site went down many years ago, so if you want to link to any of its pages, you must use the wayback machine.

    I’ve updated the link in my quote of your post. You may want to do the same for the original.

  30. I was skimming through the other Heraclitean River articles and I ran across a followup to that original article that I failed to notice before.

    It cites a Q&A article from the Chicago Manual Of Style, that tries to make the case that anything other than single-spacing is wrong and should not be permitted.

    In the folowup article (The Chicago Manual of Style and a single space after periods), the author (“Heraclitus”) points out how the justification either makes no sense today (as a result of modern publication software) or is inconsequential (the argument could justify either side of the argument).

    Ultimately, he comes to a conclusion I share: If you are a publisher, feel free to pick whatever style you think looks best and make sure you hire copy editors who will enforce it (and not just run standard macros over text). But don’t pretend that there’s some scientifically justifiable “best” that you have a moral obligation to impose on the world.

    And for anyone who seeks to impose a standard on the rest of the world for informal/internal document writing, get a life.

  31. Ha! One of my gripes with Notes on macOS is that although there’s a simple keyboard equivalent to underline (cmd-u), there’s nothing to strike through. The former should have been banned ever since we gave up typewriters, while the latter is very commonly used in versioning.

  32. This is why people with who have worked in media since the introduction of the Mac don’t double space after a period, or format copy at all other than that which is engraved in stone in the standard style sheet. Someone will have to spend time fixing it. Do it once or twice and either the proofreader or copy editor will politely remind you to stop. A third time and either one or both will beat you over the head with a big stick. A forth means the managing editor, or maybe even the art director, will come over with a machine gun and blow you to bits.

    I did a little reading into the influence proportional spacing had on creating HTML, and automatic “whitespace collapse” of double spaces after a period was the default since day one. It takes special coding to preserve double spacing:

    https://www.w3schools.com/cssref/pr_text_white-space.asp

  33. For the truly long view, read David Crystal’s excellent book
    Making a Point: The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation
    He begins when English was written without any spaces, like Japanese, and explores the development of word spacing, punctuation (including the interrobang‽), and various typesetting styles.

    Published in US & UK in regular print and ebook
    NLS downloadable audio DB 84113; paper braille BR 21585

  34. I’m with @chart. It’s what I learned in typing class some 40 years ago, and it’s just easier for me when I’m reading. This is especially true when I’m searching back through text for something specific. The double space just stands out better. That said, when I submit my papers at school, my essays are submitted without the double spaces. Although I insert double spacing after the periods while drafting, I use Grammarly to do a basic grammar check, which strips out the double spaces. Invariably there is insufficient time to reinsert the double spacing, so I just let it go.

    It’s amazing, in this time of “choice” regarding things like abortion, gender, and marijuana, that some want to force everyone typing in English to use a single method. Bill Gates shows his authoritarian tendencies!

  35. It may be simple to distinguish the words, but I hope you agree that no one should need to… It’s nice to have periods, commas and similar niceties, whether in formal writing or informal chat software.

  36. I’m disappointed to find in TidBITS this amount of enthusiasm for the position that there is only one, universal right answer, and that anyone who has an alternative personal practice is wrong. It’s all the more depressing to see the cheerleading for Microsoft and others who are moving to use their powers to enforce the removal of individual choices.

    I agree with the postings by David C. Shamino and Ted286, and I would love to see more general availability of the power of LaTeX described by Simon in Word and on the Web.

  37. In 1990, I bought Robin Williams’ book, “The Mac is not a Typewriter”. He said, “On a Macintosh (…) the characters are proportional; that is, they each take up a proportional amount of space - the letter I takes up about one-fifth the space of the letter m. So you no longer need extra spaces to separate sentences… Of course, this one-space rule applies just as well to the spacing after colons, semi-colons, question marks…or any other punctuation you can think of.”

    So, since 1990, I’ve skipped all that double-spacing.

  38. Yes of course! I love punctuation—hence my commenting on this thread. I was merely responding to a comment from Mark Nagata, who wrote:

    Because the Japanese language has tons of characters, you can distinguish words easily, without a need of breaking words by spaces. The English language has only 26 characters, so you need spaces, without which you couldn’t distinguish words.

    The reason that Japanese doesn’t (usually) use word breaks has nothing to do with being able to distinguish words. It has everything to do with history and culture.

  39. Same here. I was taught to use 2 spaces after a period when I learned to type on an old manual. I’ve always just used one on the computer. I remember how hard you had to strike the keys on those old Underwoods. However, I read somewhere that there was a lower rate of repetitive strain injury.

  40. Let’s be careful to attribute things where they belong. Bill Gates hasn’t had significant design interaction with Microsoft software in many, many years. He left day-to-day management of Microsoft in 2006 (and even then wouldn’t have been consulted about a feature as small as this), and even left the company’s board in 2017. I highly recommend watching the document Inside Bill’s Brain on Netflix.

    As I said, it’s a matter of typographic style, and we’re allowed to have our opinions about style too. :slight_smile:

    And just in case anyone else is confused, this Robin Williams is a woman. She’s thoroughly delightful, and while we see her all too infrequently, she lives in Santa Fe and Tonya and I got to spend an afternoon with her over Christmas while visiting relatives (and just before I got the flu).

  41. I remember enjoying the books by Robin Williams several decades ago, and learning from them. However, the quoted sentence, saying that having proportional characters means you no longer need extra space between sentences, seems illogical to me. Why would this assertion be true? It’s often offered as a tautology, and I don’t remember reading a meaningful explanation of it.

    Newspapers, books, and magazines had used proportional spaced letters for centuries, AND had used a greater amount of space between sentences, by the time people began to advocate using a single space on a computer. I like that centuries-old typographic tradition, and I find it useful for rapidly parsing paragraphs. Other people don’t like it. In most cases, the reasons they offer don’t seem to use logic. That’s fine. Tastes vary.

  42. The proportional space between sentences is greater than that between the letters in the words that surround it. But it is smaller than what two blank spaces the size of a M, the widest letter in a proportionally spaced English letter would be.

    There’s a good explanation here that was set in monospaced fonts. It makes it obvious that proportional type is easier to read:

  43. Thanks for the link. It’s an interesting article.

  44. But it’s a lot harder to read and therefore it takes a lot longer to read. Good reason to use spaces. If you can’t be bothered to make it readable, I’m not going to be bothered to read it.

    This is meant to be a reply to the all caps no spaces comment.

  45. I’ve been taught to always put a comma after things like ‘i.e.’ so I don’t have that problem…

  46. I’m not in this “debate.” For me, it was two spaces with a typewriter and it is one space with a computer. Period.

  47. Methinks English has always been an evolving language. Ye cockalorum, cease all this brabble; 'tis for naught. Meseems the double space may be archaic, yet is not wrong. Erelong, Microsoft will begin dinging rarely used or archaic words.

  48. I was always irritated that MS Word’s Australian spell-checker was actually closer to US than UK versions. Then I read (red:) Bill Bryson’s book The Mother Tongue and found out most US spelling is closer to the original (19th century?) spelling and it is the UK that has diverged. I still set my spellchecker to UK!

  49. I gave the reason why there’s change from 2 to 1 space, the proportional type. Because the spacing is so even, there’s no need for 2 spaces. It took me about a week to get used to it and I’ve been typing that way for over 30 years. It looks better to the eyes, too. You don’t run up against that nasty double space; you just glide along.

  50. Ancient Latin had no spaces or punctuation—and is, and was, a bitch to read. Spaces and punctuation are a sign of evolution in the Latin languages. As for two spaces after a period, that’s a leftover from the monospaced fonts on typewriters. As computers use mostly variable width fonts, a single space is all that is needed. Read “The Mac Is Not A Typewriter”, by Robin Williams, the typesetter’s Bible.

  51. No, that’s a myth that got started in the 1950s. Typesetters have been putting extra-wide spaces between sentences since the dawn of typography. The standards have varied from place place and from time to time, but the idea that an inter-sentence space must be exactly the same width as an inter-word space is only about 100 years old, and the idea that everything else is objectively wrong is less than 50 years old.

    See the article I cited at the very start of this thread:
    Heraclitean River: Why two spaces after a period isn’t wrong (or, the lies typographers tell about history)

  52. One may think of using two spaces after a period as a stylistic choice, but what it does in a layout is scream “amateur.” Printers, before computers, didn’t use two spaces when they were setting type. I have plenty of books that came out before computers and page layout programs. The rules of style didn’t come from computers. They came from printers who did their work the hard way, with lead type. The rules of style were adopted for and by computers. As Steve Jobs said, he learned them in a calligraphy class. That’s one of the uses of Open Type, to provide character choices that mimic calligraphy. Before Open Type, fonts were far more limited in their design choices. Now, the sky’s the limit.

    The rules of style enhance usability and readability. You can see them as a restraint—if your creativity is limited, or as a guide for your creativity, if it is boundless. I won’t go into those rules here (beyond using one space after a period). There are plenty of style guides to consult. Among those, as I mentioned above, is The Mac Is Not A Typewriter, by Robin Willians. And no, she’s not a comedian, though her books are very readable. I think you’ll find that most professional layout designers know her work, and follow her rules.

  53. I have to say I’ve used both 1 space and 2 spaces after a period. For me it comes down to the typeface and clarity. There are simply times where I’m forced to use a typeface (that’s used in a corporate identity for instance) where the space looks more like half a space than a whole space.

    Typically I’m a 1 space person though as under normal circumstances 2 spaces does not increase legibility.

  54. That is a useful article, though it makes me look dull and misinformed. Other forms of punctuation, like the em-space, are hard to find on a computer, though they do exist, at least in some typefaces. Be that as it may, I’ve gotten used to the single space after a period and find double spacing, as in that article, distracting, except in am em-dash—which I find useful from time to time. And I know how to type it, which can’t be said for an em-space.

    Like many others, I learned to type on a manual typewriter, and thus used double spaces after a period, which was the standard at the time, in the 1950s. When I started using a computer, I learned to use a single space. I concede that I am now prejudiced against the double space. Nevertheless, it’s good to know the history, as heraclitus lays out.

    Still, today’s typographical standards favor the single space. Though there is no one to stop you using double spacing in your own documents. But if you wish to publish anything through a service bureau, your double spaces will probably be stripped out. As well, they may be specifically excluded from the style requirements of particular university courses that require extensive writing.

    Which is to say, in some professional uses, double spaces may be deprecated, whatever your personal preferences may be. Of course, if you’re having your work published by a service bureau, you can direct them to retain you chosen spacing. Other contexts may not be so flexible.

    As heraclitus (whomever he may be) demonstrated, on the web you can use whatever standard appeals to you. It’s interesting that he said he prefers a single space after a period, but he wrote his article using double spaces. I guess that was to poke a thumb in the proverbial eyes of the so-called single space fanatics, of which I apparently was one. I don’t think I was actually a fanatic. I just believed what I was taught when I learned to use PageMaker, Quark XPress and InDesign. My teachers would have marked me down had I used double spaces. Nevertheless, most of the style standards I leaned do serve good design.

    These days radical design is popular. Though, to my mind, they often do not serve their primary purpose, which is to communicate with the viewer. Some may stop to puzzle it out, but most will fly on by with better things to do than decode an obscure design.

    If you’re a good designer, clarity doesn’t have to be boring.

  55. It is, and always was, a matter of style. By definition, what is “best” is in the mind of the typesetter and is not an objective truth.

    What everybody liked in the 1700’s went out of fashion in the 1920’s and became taboo (if not the subject of abuse and ridicule) in the 1950’s. And in the future, today’s standards will fall by the wayside in favor of some other style.

    In 2050, maybe publishers will decide to begin every paragraph with a 30-point drop-cap. Or sentences will alternate between serif and sans-serif fonts. And if they do, they’ll probably revise history and pretend that what we’re all doing today was never done and that anyone who denies it is an uneducated boor. But it will still be a matter of style, not any absolute universal truth, no matter what its proponents at the time may claim.

  56. This is true, and it doesn’t only scream amateur. It’s also broadcasting that the author is, at the very least, an OK Boomer who refuses to admit there might be a more effective way to communicate in type and who cares more about what he or she likes rather than what is easier for everyone else to read. Two spaces make any document longer, and will be more prone to rivers. Especially if you justify the document, it will totally throw off 100% of the spacing.

    Since the invention of writing thousands of years ago, documents were written with proportional spacing. When Gutenberg invented the printing press and movable type, the spacing was also proportional. It was only when the typewriter was invented thousands of years later, and monospacing was the only option, that the two spaces were recommended. And it’s why the vast majority of printed documents are created with proportional type today.

  57. Like wigs and codpieces. :wink:

Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum

Participants