Typographic Spacing

April 09, 2007

During high school I took a semester of typing as one of my elective courses. (Yes, I am that old.) I only remember a couple of things from that class. First, all the assignments were handed out based on the speed of the fastest student in the class. This meant that those of us who were slower at typing had to really struggle to complete all the required exercises. By the end of the semester I was able to type an entire page at 20 or 21 words per minute (wpm) with only two errors per page. Erasable bond paper was available, but since the ink would rub off the paper with only a little handling the teacher wouldn't allow us to use it for anything we wanted to hand in for grading.

The other thing I remember was the idea of leaving two spaces after a period. It creates a subtly different visual cue than the single space following a comma or semi-colon. Working with HTML and the Web has destroyed that typographical nicety for me. I have fallen into the habit of leaving a single space after the sentence ending punctuation. For no reason other than it pleases me I am going to try and relearn the double space convention in my typing. Of course postings like this one will be cumbersome to create as the browser wants to strip out "extra" spaces that aren't explicitly coded. And I'm too lazy to insert the necessary " " character sequence to force the spaces to appear after each sentence. So why bother? Because. :)

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.