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Replace Double Spaces With Singles Automatically?
October 21, 2007 9:27 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to get Word to automatically replace double spaces between sentences with single spaces?

I edit a literary magazine, and people are always sending me documents in which they've put two spaces in between sentences instead of the proper one space. I end up having to go in and take out all those spaces manually. Is there any alternative?
posted by toomuchkatherine to Computers & Internet (39 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Select All, then go into the Format menu and choose paragraph. Select Single where it says space. Alternatively, you can customize your toolbar to include the single space option for a quicker fix, since you use it so often.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:32 PM on October 21, 2007


Find and Replace will do it.
posted by fshgrl at 9:32 PM on October 21, 2007


Oh, nevermind, I've apparently misread your question. I see now you're referring to an extra space in between sentences. That's actually a pet peeve of mine as well.

For that, I don't think there's a way to handle it other than manually.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:35 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, Find and Replace is your friend.
posted by DMan at 9:36 PM on October 21, 2007


Yes, find "  " and replace with " ". And then send these people an email explaining how utterly wrong they are to put two spaces between sentences.
posted by tepidmonkey at 9:37 PM on October 21, 2007


edit>replace>hit the space bar 2x in the "find what" box>hit the space bar 1x in the "replace all" box>replace all
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:39 PM on October 21, 2007


As long as there's never a situation in which two spaces together is valid, then a simple find-replace will do it.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 9:39 PM on October 21, 2007


And if there is ever a need for a double space as per TeatimeGrommit, you can narrow it down by
Find period-space-space
& Replace period-space.

I'd even set it up as a macro, and automatically run it on every document.
posted by b33j at 9:43 PM on October 21, 2007


And Wikipedia recommends not starting "wars" over it. Just quietly edit the document for print based on the standards of your publication.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 9:46 PM on October 21, 2007


I’m not sure Wikipedia is the best source for helping you choose your battles.
posted by tepidmonkey at 10:01 PM on October 21, 2007


I mean, because of their infamous edit wars.
posted by tepidmonkey at 10:01 PM on October 21, 2007


Eleven answers in fifteen minutes. You all rule. Trying find and replace now.
posted by toomuchkatherine at 10:19 PM on October 21, 2007


Eleven answers in fifteen minutes. You all rule. Trying find and replace now.

...zomg. 140 replacements just like THAT. So much work saved. Thanks!
posted by toomuchkatherine at 10:20 PM on October 21, 2007


Looks like you're all set, but I generally run Find and Replace a few times in a row, to catch those who like to use the space bar to indent, instead of tabbing, as the good lord intended.
posted by flod at 10:57 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


You can also set the grammar check to find double spaces. In Word 2003 go to Tools, then Options, then Spelling and Grammar, then in the Grammar section select Settings, then under Require change it from "Don't Check" to "1 space".

Find and replace might be easier, but this will alert you to stray double spaces (or their absence).
posted by sondrialiac at 12:29 AM on October 22, 2007


those who like to use the space bar to indent, instead of tabbing, as the good lord intended.

The good lord intended you to use paragraph indent settings rather than tabbing.
posted by grouse at 1:23 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The good lord intended you to use paragraph indent settings rather than tabbing.

Then why did the good lord let me set up custom tab-stops, etc?
posted by robcorr at 2:08 AM on October 22, 2007


The creator gives you tab stops for the same reason he allows you to press space more than once—to test your faith.
posted by grouse at 2:12 AM on October 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


Looks like you're all set, but I generally run Find and Replace a few times in a row, to catch those who like to use the space bar to indent, instead of tabbing, as the good lord intended.

Yes, and it also gets rid of any other triple or more spaces that a single "replace all" won't remedy. After getting rid of the double spaces you might want to do two more find&replaces, if you want to get really anal:
Find: [space][paragraph mark] Replace: [paragraph mark]
Find: [paragraph mark][space] Replace: [paragraph mark]

(I also use this to get rid of tabs, because I use style settings to implement paragraph indents, so there's no unnecessary spacing).
posted by lampoil at 4:18 AM on October 22, 2007


And then send these people an email explaining how utterly wrong they are to put two spaces between sentences.
Doesn't Word do this double-spacing on it's own? I get text from clients all the time (produced in Word) and it uniformly has this aggravating double-spacing between sentences. I can't imagine someone doing this purposely.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:43 AM on October 22, 2007


Funny, I was always taught to use two spaces after a period.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:50 AM on October 22, 2007


People do it purposely. From what I understand it’s some kind of a weird held-over relic from the days of monospaced fonts on typewriters.

Typographically it’s an abomination, plain and simple. Pick any book at random off your bookshelf and tell me how many spaces you see between each sentence.
posted by tepidmonkey at 5:09 AM on October 22, 2007


To change Word's sentence spacing behavior (On Windows):
Tools -> Options -> Spelling & Grammar -> Settings -> Spaces required between sentences -> Change from "don't check" to "1"
posted by mysterious1der at 5:17 AM on October 22, 2007


Anybody who learned on a manual typewriter was taught two spaces.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:44 AM on October 22, 2007


when i learned to type in middle school (on a computer) i was told to ALWAYS use two spaces. it wan't until college that i re-taught myself to just use one.

as others have said, it is a hangover from typewriter days.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:45 AM on October 22, 2007


And then send these people an email explaining how utterly wrong they are to put two spaces between sentences.


Whether to use one or two spaces is far from decided so I would not project an attitude of superiority toward the authors. What is important is that this journal uses a single space and it is appropriate to ask the authors to comply with this journal's standard when submitting manuscripts for publication.
posted by caddis at 7:06 AM on October 22, 2007


Anybody who learned on a manual typewriter was taught two spaces.

Yeah, I've given up trying to break myself of the habit. And as an editor, I do the search-and-replace thing to get rid of other people's double spaces, so it's not like I don't know better. But:

And then send these people an email explaining how utterly wrong they are to put two spaces between sentences.


What caddis said. Don't be obnoxious. You're not "right" in any thou-shalt-not way, you're just enforcing a particular and arbitrary style guideline.
posted by languagehat at 7:11 AM on October 22, 2007


Sorry. You shouldn’t actually send people the obnoxious email I jokingly suggested. The issue of single versus double spacing obviously gets me a little hot under the collar.
posted by tepidmonkey at 7:18 AM on October 22, 2007


Woah, when did the double-space become such a BAD THING TO DO OMGZWTFBBQ?!

That's the way I was taught -- actually, it was drilled into my brain since childhood, both by classes in school and by my mother, sitting over my shoulder while I diddled in WordStar. It's going to take me YEARS to break that habit, man.

/cry
posted by Adelwolf at 7:45 AM on October 22, 2007


I do it all the time. I've just done it again. Actually, my fingers just do it for me, completely automatically. Fortunately for my street credibility, Metafilter quietly fixes it.
posted by flabdablet at 8:28 AM on October 22, 2007


Actually, I think the html removes them.  It's not just Metafilter.  All html has this feature.  Unless, of course you force in space characters.    ;)
posted by caddis at 8:38 AM on October 22, 2007


I'm going to toss in my unpopular two cents here and maintain my position that the two spaces concept, which was appropriate for mono-spaced typewriters, is also appropriate for often-mono-spaced web text.

It sure makes it easier for me to scan a big page of computer text in the sentence-gulping way I generally read.

FWIW.
posted by Aquaman at 8:48 AM on October 22, 2007


@TeatimeGrommit: And Wikipedia recommends not starting "wars" over it.

I'm sorry, but BWA HA HA HA HA HA! Wikipedia recommending to not start a war over something petty?!?!?!

Another way, besides what's described above, is to go into your Grammar rules (Tools > Options > Spelling & Grammar > Grammar Settings > Require > # of Spaces Between Sentences. Your grammar checker will then catch it in the future; I'm not sure, but you might even have a "Change All" option.
posted by WCityMike at 9:25 AM on October 22, 2007


Another way, besides what's described above, is to go into your Grammar rules

That's only the third time that someone has mentioned that in this thread. Just saying.
posted by grouse at 9:33 AM on October 22, 2007


Tell them that formatting is your job, not theirs and to write their manuscript in a text editor, using markup tags.

Then you can apply whatever style you like to it.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:34 AM on October 22, 2007


You might find something useful among the MS Word add-ins at The Editorium:
Editor's ToolKit provides powerful tools for editing in Microsoft Word, including the ability to show and stet revisions at the touch of a key. Quickly transpose words, transpose characters, change case, insert dashes and bullets, mark spec levels, change text to true title case, and much more.

FileCleaner cleans up common typographical problems in electronic manuscripts, including multiple spaces, multiple returns, spaces around dashes, improperly typed ellipses, ells used as ones, directly applied font formatting (while retaining character formatting such as italic), and so on. Many of our customers say they can't live without this program.
And more.
posted by Dave 9 at 10:56 AM on October 22, 2007


I have the exact opposite problem of you - I have to make sure for one place that I submit reviews to that I have two spaces after the period. Drives me batty.
posted by cftarnas at 11:27 AM on October 22, 2007


OP.. you might want to create a macro to do the S&R if you see this a lot.

A lot of folks don't use the paragraph spacing feature and use two carriage returns to add interparagraph spacing, and a macro to fix that is useful, too.

Special characters in S&R include paragraph marks (^p).

Word (and Excel) both have lots of automation features. Any time you see yourself repeating something like this, chances are there is a very fast workaround.
posted by FauxScot at 6:41 PM on October 22, 2007


A bit late, but you don't have to run your Search and Replace in Word more than once to be sure you catch people who might be using three or four spaces.

Word has a limited regular-expression syntax you can use: Now when you run your S&R, you will replace any number of spaces greater than one with one space.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 8:08 PM on October 22, 2007


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