Tag Archives: proportional fonts

Stop double spacing. Period

Photograph by Waikay Lau (Flickr.com/seychelles88)

A long argument that I’ve had with other PR professionals is whether or not to double space after periods. By my writing, you can clearly tell which side of the debate I’m on. But others insist that two spaces after a period is the way to go.

In the latest round of heckling, I sent a colleague this instant message: “Double    spacing     is     old    school.     Please    stop    doing    it…..” to which she replied “L o n g    l i v e    t h e    d o u b l e    s p a c e.”

Of course, we go back and forth on this all the time and it’s in good fun, but going through documents and removing double spaces is much less of a joy.

The “double-spacers” haven’t been able to give me a good argument as to why their way is correct, other than “it’s tradition” or “that’s how I learned to type in high school,” so I’ll lay out a few reasons why single spacing after a period is the new age of typing and should be adopted by all PR professionals moving forward.

Double spacing was invented for typewriters

Early typewriters used monospaced fonts where each character took up the same amount of horizontal space. The “two spaces after a period” rule was adopted specifically for these fonts because it helped to visually separate sentences. Now, we use computers and most fonts are proportional fonts that assign horizontal space based on the size of the letter – “M” and “W” are wider than “I” and “J” – which makes the typeface inherently easier to read. With modern technology, double spacing is no longer necessary. It actually looks like a typing error rather than a style.

The AP Stylebook says so

Page 334 of my 2004 AP Stylebook (I know, it’s time to update it) and Franco’s current subscription to www.apstylebook.com both clearly state “SPACING: Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence.”

There you have it, a few solid reasons why single spacing after periods is correct. If you are a double-spacer, I encourage you to try to break the habit. If you’re like my colleague who will probably continue double spacing regardless of this blog post, I challenge you to give me a few solid reasons why your way is better.

Joe Ferlito is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5031 or ferlito@franco.com.