Microsoft has settled the great space debate, and sided with everyone who believes one space after a period is correct, not two. The software giant has started to update Microsoft Word to highlight two spaces after a period (a full stop for you Brits) as an error, and to offer a correction to one space. Microsoft recently started testing this change with the desktop version of Word, offering suggestions through the Editor capabilities of the app.
If you’re still (strangely) on the two-spacer side, you will be able to ignore the suggestion. The Editor feature in Word allows users to ignore the suggestion once, make the change to one space, or turn off the writing-style suggestion. We understand Microsoft has been testing the feature change recently and it will roll out to everyone using the desktop version of Word soon. Feedback to the change has been overwhelmingly positive.
The suggestion can still be ignored by two-spacers
“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,” says Kirk Gregersen, partner director of program management at Microsoft, in a statement to The Verge.
Much of the debate around one space or two has been fueled by the halcyon days of the typewriter. Typewriters used monospaced fonts to allocate the same amount of horizontal spacing to every character. Narrow characters like “i” got the same amount of space as “m,” so the extra space after the “.” was needed to make it more apparent that sentences had ended. Word and many other similar apps make fonts proportional, so two spaces is no longer necessary.
That hasn’t stopped the battle over one space or two from raging on for decades, however. A study on the hotly contested issue supposedly handed the victory to the two-spacers back in 2018, but many questioned the research and it clearly wasn’t enough to convince Microsoft. Expect to see the new changes in Word roll out to everyone in the coming months. Congratulations, fellow one-spacers.