“JJJ space, KKK space.” This was the mantra in my first high school typing class. When we moved on to writing paragraphs, we were told to use two spaces at the end of a sentence and I have yet to break the habit. Are you in the same boat?

Linotype imageUsing extra space was critical when my grandfather’s crew used a linotype machine to set type for the Niagara Gazette. Without extra spacing, the type would not look justified. With the advent of typewriters, the practice continued due to the monospaced nature of the font. Equal spacing per character, whether it was an i or an m, meant better readability with two spaces at the end of a sentence.

Today’s computers and publishing’s modern offset printing process use proportional fonts meaning that the i is now thinner than the m and the extra space at the end of your sentences is not only no longer necessary, but frowned upon. If you use a double space after your sentences, some editor or printer needs to take them out. This slows down the production, looks amateurish and potentially becomes more costly to you.

Double spacing is hard to quit, but using a tool in Microsoft Word to eradicate the unnecessary is easy. When you are done with a piece, use the Find and Replace feature to seek out areas with two spaces and turn them into one. If you aren’t sure how to do this, watch this YouTube demonstration and modernize your text with only a few keystrokes.