Eva van Emden, Freelance Editor

Certified Copy Editor and Proofreader


January 14, 2011

About typing two spaces after a period

Using the double spaces

This article in Slate can say it for me: we recommend against putting two spaces after a period. From an editor’s perspective, I’ll say that the first thing I do with a new manuscript is to replace all multiple spaces with single spaces.

If you’re deciding what style to use for a document you’re producing, keep in mind that the two-space style is fragile, in that it’s much harder to find and correct extra spaces or missing spaces. With the one-space style, you can get rid of accidental extra spaces with a single search and replace operation. But with the two-space style, you have to use a much more complicated search, since you require two spaces after a sentence-ending period but not after i.e., e.g., ellipsis points, etc.). If you display your text justified instead of left-aligned, it will be really hard to tell whether each word gap contains the right number of spaces.

Removing the double spaces

To process a manuscript that has extra spaces (I always do this on receiving a manuscript and again before delivery because it’s easy for extra spaces to creep in), use search and replace to search for “  ” (just type two spaces into the search box) and replace with “ ” (one space in the replace box). I always choose the “Replace all” option to change them all at once, and then run it again until there are no more multiple spaces found.

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