e-Style: The Hard Space

StyleBack in the old typewriter days, we were taught that proper nouns and dates should always remain together on the same line. That was fine and dandy back then since we controlled where each line ended. Today, word processing applications decide where lines end based on margins and font sizes so have we lost the ability to present a properly-styled page?

No! We have the hard space to help us maintain proper decorum.

The hard space, also known as a non-breaking space, tells your editor (word processor or blog editor) not to break a line here. In Word (Windows), the hard space is created using the CTRL+Shift+spacebar key combination. On the Mac (Pages and Word), use the Option+spacebar key combo. When used between a first name and last name, the hard space makes the entire name appear as a single word to the word processing application which will then keep it together on the same line. For dates, you’ll need to use two hard spaces – one after the month and another before the year.

How will you know if you have a hard space or a normal space in your text? Use the command to display non-printing characters (Word) or invisibles (Pages) to see all those hidden codes. You’ll also see the codes for tabs, paragraph breaks, page breaks and so on.

Bloggers will need to use the HTML code for a non-breaking space (& n b s p ;) if your editor doesn’t include that option in the toolbar. The code must be entered in HTML view.

Hard spaces are just another tool to give your writings the professional look they deserve. It may be a hard space, but it’s very easy to put to use.

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