Addressing the Elephant in the Room: How Many Spaces After a Period?

You may not know this, but there is a rather heated debate going on between writers and designers over how many spaces should follow a period. In fact, a long time ago a designer confronted our very own copywriter. She was informed that it was not correct to use two spaces after a period. Who. Knew. Apparently, to a designer, seeing two spaces makes them die a little bit inside.

So, in an effort to save the souls of designers (and the lives of writers) everywhere, let's tackle this subject. To double space or not to double space, that is the question!


Two spaces after a period, everyone does that right?

Even as this post is being written, double spaces are being used because: HABIT. When the post is done we go back and do a "find and replace all' to fix the egregiousness because it's very hard to stop what has become so automatic. Thumb hits space bar twice, what are you gonna do? The thing has a mind of it's own! It all started way back in high school typing class where we had it drilled into us that you need to have two spaces after a period. Remember your high school typing teacher? He or she would be aghast at this single space tomfoolery! What nonsense is this?

Evolution is a real thing

If you look at a style manual, you won't find one that doesn't specify a single space. Both the Chicago and MLA specify only one space, for example. But why have we been putting two for all these years? What gives?

As it turns out, the double spacers of the world are not wrong, per se. It's just that style has evolved in favor of the single space. This is due in part to digital typefaces, which have precise spacing already built in. Typefaces (aka fonts) are designed so that the letters take up a certain amount of space. Designers carefully consider spacing when they design typefaces, so to add an extra space after a period goes against the intentions of the person who designed the typeface. It kind of ruins their day. To a designer, space is an extremely precious thing. Don't fuss with it and they'll let you keep your face.

So, what now?

Well, since using a single space is now the standard, you're going to have to break your old habits. The adoption of that standard by major style manuals pretty much makes it a law. Of course, you won't get arrested or anything, but you'll totally get a stern look from a designer. Trust from those who know. 

The purpose of this post is not to make you sad, double spacers. You're not wrong and you're not bad people or bad writers. You're more like fashion victims. Step away from the proverbial blue leisure suit and nobody will get hurt.

Our poor copywriter, knowing the rules full well, is still trying to break the double space habit, bless her heart. She's trying to be cool, GLAD WORKS friends. She's trying and taking it one day at a time.

Thank goodness for the "find and replace all" tool, that's all we're saying. 

So tell us, do you double space or single space? Is this the first you're hearing of all this? Speak up in the comments below and for the love of all that is good and decent in this world, single spaces only.


  • Sat, 09/13/2014 - 2:50pm reply

    Two spaces...end of story. What's next...ending sentences with prepositions!? One more reason for keeping those hippie designers on a short leash ;)

  • Sat, 09/13/2014 - 2:50pm reply

    Thank you for another great article. Now can we move on to talk about AM and PM or am and pm. We are always arguing about to capitalize or not!

  • Sat, 09/13/2014 - 2:50pm reply

    Thank you for your comments! There are so many different ways to do things it's hard to know what is correct. Perhaps we will do some research and try to settle some more debates like these! AM and PM or am and pm is good one!

    And yes, those hippie designers get all fired up about things. Writers need to take the power back! ;)

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