Microsoft Picks a Side in 'Great Spacing Debate'

Word will flag double space as an error
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2020 6:27 PM CDT
Word Will Now Flag 2 Spaces After Period as a Mistake
One space is plenty, according to Microsoft Word.   (Getty Images/fotokon)

In a move that some traditionalists might consider a sign we are living in the End Times, leaving two spaces after a period is now going to be flagged as an error in Microsoft Word. When typewriters were still widely used, it was normal to leave two spaces after a period because "monospaced" characters used up the same amount of space and the larger space made it easier to spot where a sentence ended, the Smithsonian explains. Most fonts are now proportionally spaced, but the debate between one-spacers and two-spacers has still raged for many years. The change is being gradually rolled out and two-spacers may find their choice being marked as an error after their software updates, reports CNN.

But diehard two-spacers will not find it difficult to reject the change—Word users just need to right-click and use the Editor feature to ensure a double space is not flagged as an error in the future, CNN notes. "As the crux of the great spacing debate, we know this is a stylistic choice that may not be the preference for all writers, which is why we continue to test with users and enable these suggestions to be easily accepted, ignored, or flat out dismissed in Editor," Microsoft spokesman Kirk Gregersen tells the Verge. (Read more word processor stories.)

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