Old habits die hard! I researched this topic ages ago and there are still lots of passionate debates on the Internet. Who’s right and who’s wrong? [poll id=”2″]As an RSA trained typist it was drummed into me to type two spaces at the end of each sentence. Using Twitter helped me to break the habit of a lifetime, as you can only use 140 characters in a Tweet, I was often grateful for those extra characters!
Monospaced v Proportional Fonts
When we used old fashioned typewriters, each character was given the exact same amount of space on the page, this is called Monospaced or fixed font.
The text looks uneven, loose and very spacey! The letter i is displayed as wide as the letter w and typists were trained to type two spaces between sentences to make the text easier to read.
Monospaced Fonts Examples
This text is typed in Courier New a monospaced Font -it looks uneven, loose and spacey! As you can see each letter takes up the same amount of space! I believe that Courier New and Lucida Sans are the only monospaced true Type fonts available today in Microsoft products.
Proportional Spaced Fonts
Today, word processors and computers in general use proportionally spaced fonts! This means that each character has different widths. For example the letter i takes up less space than the letter w.
Proportional Font Example
This text is typed in Arial, which is a proportionally spaced font. As you can see this font is easy to read and more visually pleasing. It has variable spacing between the characters and it can be easier to focus on each word as a whole rather than on each individual characters.
So why change?
Reasons you may want to change to using one space after a full stop are:
- Proportional fonts look more like the way we would write
- It’s more modern
- If you send a document to be published the typesetter will remove any extra spaces
- Proportional fonts take up less room
- Using 2 spaces will show your age
So unless you’re typing on an old fashioned typewriter, you don’t need to put two spaces after a full stop, exclamation mark or question mark!