Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- 7 Tips to Write Great Essays - January 5, 2018
- How to Eliminate Abstract Nouns - January 3, 2018
- 3 Important Differences Between Academic versus Technical Writing - January 1, 2018
© 2010 Ugur Akinci
There used to be a time when writers were very fond of double-spaces after a period, or as many spaces as they liked.
There are those who argue that the habit started with those U.S. government workers using IBM Selectric typewriters (yes, once upon a time writers used to bang on the keys of clumsy and noisy mechanical apparatuses called “typewriters” to create their documents). When using a typewriter, you can press the spacebar as many times in a row as you like.
Professional typographers hated double-spaces because no professional book or article is typeset that way. They are all typeset with a single space after the period (or between any two individual characters).
Thus Adobe FrameMaker adopted single-space between any two characters as its default typographical practice.
That’s why if you try to insert two spaces in a row after a period (or between any two individual characters) in FM by pressing the spacebar twice in a row, it won’t work. By default, FM will prevent you from doing that.
But there is a way getting around that… well, TWO ways actually, since every task in an Adobe product usually has more than one way of doing it.
Turn Off the Smart Spaces feature:
1) Select Format > Document > Text Options from the menu to display the Text Options dialog box:
2) Clear the Smart Spaces check-box to cancel the single-space rule. That way you can insert as many spaces as you like anywhere in the text. (Select it again to start enforcing the rule.)
The Smart Spaces feature allows the user to insert only one space, “proportional” to the font size, in between characters as well as the last character and the text marker (the reverse-pi character). Here are some examples for different font sizes:
QUESTION: how “proportional” exactly that single-space is? It’s not easy to say since the FrameMaker help file itself will not specify whether the single-space is equal to the width of any specific character in that font family or not.
FrameMaker documentation only notes that the space will be determined by the specific characters before and after it: “When you press the spacebar, you insert a proportional space (whose width depends on the characters on either side of it)… When Smart Spaces is on, you can’t type more than one proportional space in a row. ”
Use Fixed-Length Spaces
There is another way though to get around the single-space rule.
Even when the Smart Spaces check-box is selected, you can still insert one or more fixed-length space(s) by using the following hot-keys:
Em Space — Esc + SpaceBar + m (equal to the length of character “m” for that font family and font size)
En Space — Esc + SpaceBar + n (equal to the length of character “n” for that font family and font size)
Numeric Space — Esc + SpaceBar + 1 (equal to the the width of number Zerofor that font family and font size)
Thin Space — Esc + SpaceBar + t (equal to the 1/12th of the width of Em Space for that font family and font size)