a PSA on 21st century typing

Have you run across those people who learned how to type in the dark ages of the 20th century and are still typing two spaces after a period in both their documents and their online text? Or worse–are you one of them? Here’s an example, using Prestige Elite Std. font to emphasize the problem:

It turns out that a lot of people know it is no longer appropriate, but are so tied to the habit, and maybe so averse to change, that they greet advice with anger. Thus, I have stopped telling people the new rules, and simply go in and change their text manually, line by line if we are collaborating in a document or online workspace. Maybe some of them will read this PSA and seek help–I’m rooting for you, because it’s embarrassing to see your work look so ragged when it is presented to other professionals.

So, here’s why we don’t need to type those two spaces anymore, and it has to do with proportional fonts on computers. Please use this nifty resource to read about the difference between proportional and fixed-width fonts and to convince yourself that you need to change your old typing habits: Basic Typographical Principles.

In a proportional font, the period is squished over to the left of its space. Therefore you don’t need to type two spaces after a period, and in fact you shouldn’t: this leads to too much space. Get rid of your typewriter habit of typing two spaces after a period.

Don’t get mad, just get over it.

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Categories: communication, computers, digital literacy, technology

Tags: ,

1 reply

  1. In MsWord, instead of line by line, people who have a hard time breaking this habit can use the search and replace feature. Put 2 spaces in the search and 1 space in the replace feature. I don’t know about other programs.

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