Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Era of Double Spaces Is Declared Dead 

If one of your pet peeves is double spaces between sentences, here’s good news.

Microsoft has issued a decree: the official style choice for MS Word is two spaces between sentences. Users who press the space bar twice after a period will get an error message. The change will be rolled out gradually, so you might not see it until you next software update.

Here’s some history on double spacing, courtesy of CNN:

“The habit of using two spaces is a relic from the era of typewriters, when typists spaced twice to more clearly define the end of a sentence. Characters were monospaced back then, which means they took up the same amount of space on the page -- today, most fonts adjust the width of characters so sentences are easier to read. Very few style guides advise using two spaces after a period. The APA, Chicago Manual of Style, AP and US Government Printing Office Style Manual all recommend a single space between sentences. The contemporary benefits of using it are few, aside from taking up more space on a page.”

Here’s a work-around: when you get the error code after a double space, right click to view your options. “You can ask Word to ignore this issue when it comes up again or view every grammatical issue the software will mark and remove spacing from the list of errors.”

A special shout-out to Patrick Brown, the Vice President of Enterprise and Operational Risk Management at Lawyers Mutual. A double-space holdout until the bitter end.


Lawyers Mutual is the only legal professional liability insurance company that has been protecting North Carolina lawyers continuously since 1977. Our motto, “Here Today, Here Tomorrow,” is more than a tagline. It’s our commitment to the lawyers in this state.



About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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