Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Spaces In-Between ... Leave Room For Us To Grow

2 spaces at the end of every typed sentence.  That's what I was taught upon the IBM Selectric typewriters we had for typing class in high-school.  Does such a thing exist anymore?  (I mean the typing class, not the typewriter.)  And, it was actually an semester-long class.  How can you have a class that lasts for an entire half a school year, only teaching typing?  Harkening back, I guess it was about more than typing.  This class was clearly a hold-over from the "Let's teach girls to be secretaries!" days.  There was also a shorthand class and an accounting class.  It was the early 80's, after all.

I remember that the class wasn't just about where to put your fingers and getting your words-per-minute speed up to a respectable number.  (I type in the 80-90 words-per-minute range, he noted smugly.)  It was how to type a letter, how to type an order form, blah, blah, blah.  All sorts of different things that I, to this day, have probably never used other than the typing itself.  And because, as a kid, we had a typewriter at the house, I was already familiar with where the keys were.  I could hammer something out at a respectable pace using the two-fingered pecking mode.  So for me, it mainly taught me how to hold my hands.  And, it taught me to hit the space bar twice, after every sentence.

Why did this suddenly come up?  I'm reading through a printed proof of my fairy tale before hitting the "Okay" button on Create Space and offering it up to the world as a print-on-demand book.  Those double-spaces really show up in print.  The HTML of web pages can and does automatically ignore two spaces in a row, so this blog might not be suffering from such an old-fashioned habit.  I don't know.  I'll have to check once I publish this post.  I'm a graphic designer and web-programmer by trade, so it's interesting to think that all my web work doesn't show the double-space yet all my print work does.

One thing is clear - the double space has to go.  I've got to get myself out of this habit.  But it's going to be hard to unlearn.  In the same way I got in the habit of putting a horizontal line through my 7's and my Z's, to make them easier to read in math class, it's something that happens without any conscious thought on my part.  In a print piece of work, it's really a big no-no.  Here's an interesting article about it on

One bit of exciting news ... I was able to use Find and Replace in OpenOffice to whittle all those double spaces down to single ones.  Kachow!  Now to see if I can get it to get ride of all my tabbed indents so I can using the automatic first-line indent like you're supposed to.

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