One space versus two spaces after a full stop

When typing do you press the space bar one or two times after hitting the full stop key (or period for our US readers)?

Not sure? Go to the last document you have written and do a Ctrl+F (find) search for   (or just hit the space bar twice).

Priority spaces

As an editor, this is one of the first checks I will make to any content submitted to me for review. And I will replace each instance of two spaces with one space. That is how I do things.

Most people probably don’t notice or care whether they use one space or two. Even more do a mix of one, two, three and more spaces after a full stop.

Wikipedia kindly tells me that the habit of two spaces derives from the use of the monospaced font on typewriters.

Two is for typewriters

A Macbook Pro or a desktop PC is not a typewriter. If you did not learn to type on a typewriter, you’ve no excuse. If you learned to type on a typewriter it’s time to start changing your habits and getting with the modern world.

If there was ever an article I wish I had written, it is ‘Space Invaders, Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period’ by Farhad Manjoo of Slate magazine.

He says everything I could wish to say, or get interviewees to say on the one versus two space debacle.

I’m right and you’re wrong

Great takeaway points from Farhad’s article include:

  • Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.
  • Because we’ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it.
  • One space is simpler, cleaner, and more visually pleasing
  • A page of text with two spaces between every sentence looks riddled with holes

Are you stuck in the 20th century?

What’s your take on it? Do you use one or two spaces after a full stop? Would you change having read this blog post, the article from Slate.com or indeed the Wikipedia section on spacing?

Have you experimented with your content?

Writing content once is difficult enough for most organisations, never mind two or three or more times. Experimenting with content is something Google wants people to do to make better websites. And as a result and Google Analytics users will see an Experiments tab under the Content tab over coming months.

Google Analytics content experiments

This will allow website editors to:

  • upload three different types of content to their site
  • add details of these in Google Analytics
  • choose the percentage of visitors who will see an alternative content description
  • add code to the site
  • review the conversion rates of visitors to the three different types of content

Speedier process

For organisations already doing A/B testing with e-commerce product descriptions this, according to Google, will make that job easier and faster.

Conversions wake up call

For those doing nothing – it is a reminder that the return on the investment of experimenting with written content is the chance to increase conversions.

Increased opportunity for designers and developers

It will require more tech expertise than the average content editor may have/have access to on a site. It includes inserting code – there are two options DIY or email your webmaster – meaning extra revenue generating opportunities for many a designer or developer.

Get your content ready

Here’s a video explaining it all. Why not start creating that extra content so you’re ready to go once this feature is rolled out?