back to article Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

Welcome to another rundown of the news you might have missed from the Windows mines deep beneath Microsoft's Redmond campus. Skype joins Zoom and Teams in the background-bothering game Skype users, rejoice! You lucky people get to take part in the custom backgrounds thing enjoyed by Zoom customers, and then Team users. An …

  1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    This is seriously going to mess up my whitespace codebase!!!!

    Damn! The extra spaces I put in for comic effect got taken out! Guess that shows where The Reg falls in this debate!

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Boffin

      Look on the bright side

      Microsoft has officially documented that the company is illiterate.

      1. William Old
        Linux

        Re: Look on the bright side

        Of course it's illiterate... it has (wrongly) been using the word "font" instead of "typeface" for decades, a "font" being a typeface in one specific size.

        And I prefer Linux, but you already guessed that...

    2. veti Silver badge

      In related news, El Reg is using HTML, which has always removed extra whitespace.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        *woooosh* ?

  2. Def Silver badge
    Joke

    Two spaces?

    I think it should be one tab.

    1. Drew Scriver Silver badge

      Re: Two spaces?

      This US quirk of holding on to typewriter-era double spaces almost cost me a job when I applied for a secretarial position after I moved from Europe (where I grew up) to the USA.

      The temp agency had me take a touch-typing test that consisted of copying a document of about 70 sentences.

      The computer ruled that I had made 72 typos. Turns out that I had consistently typed a single space after each sentence, thus accounting for 70 of the 'errors'.

      To this day I maintain that the source text contained 70 errors and that I simply corrected them. :-)

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: Two spaces?

        I always used one space, because that's what books use or at least the ones I read did.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          'that's what books use'

          Because books never used monospaced fonts like typewriters did. Another habit born out of necessity because limitations of the era, which no longer makes sense today, and even yesterday.

      2. Frank Marsh

        Re: Two spaces?

        You were, and remain, right! Computers can handle spacing. We're not using fixed-width fonts for body text anymore.

      3. VicMortimer

        Re: Two spaces?

        It should have cost you a job.

        TWO spaces after every sentence. No more, and NO LESS. A single space is WRONG.

        1. Drew Scriver Silver badge

          Re: Two spaces?

          Can I conclude that you are jesting given that your reply features a single space between sentences? ;-)

    2. apolodoro

      Re: Two spaces?

      Is your tab 4 spaces or 8 spaces?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Two spaces?

        Neither. It's a TAB stop.

        The number of picas per TAB stop depends on the document I'm working on. It also depends on the TAB stop within the document ... no two have to be alike.

        Personally, I use the American pica because it's what my Linotype machine is set for ... and Tex agrees with it, making life easy. No doubt you Brits use the French version, just because it's not American.

        For coding and other 7-bit ASCII, my TAB key inserts 4 spaces.

  3. Greybearded old scrote
    Facepalm

    I chose "I don't care"

    Like the author, when I learned to type it was what they taught. Like him I'll go on doing it because it's in my muscle memory. If you get hot under collar about it (and I've seen some amazingly angry rants on the subject, worse than Comic Sans) I'll tell you to worry about something that matters.

    I won't tell you to get a sense of proportion, because Trin Tragula.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I chose "I don't care"

      It doesn't matter - who uses Word anyway? I write all my letters in Excel. Plus use it for my shopping lists, notes and even once built a £20m invoicing system in it that connected to a massive database of all our purchasing contracts (Excel of course) that also linked up the management accountants clever stuff to work out how we could maximise our discounts by moving purchases around in time - plus printing quarterly invoices notn hideous spaghetti code because IT were too cheap to give me proper tools to do it... It took me 2 weeks, a pack of highlighter pens and a whiteboard to check all the formulae were correct. Mumble, mumble, I've used Excel for printing posters as well - double-spaced mumble, mumble...

      One space after commas, 2 after full stops! Not that I really care, but I've hammered touch typing into my muscle memory and I can't stop it now after 35 years of repetition.

      1. Drew Scriver Silver badge

        Re: I chose "I don't care"

        For decades, the global typographical standard has been to use a singe space after a period. To me, having grown up in Europe, two spaces looks like typographical stutter.

        Thus, after moving to the US, back in my secretarial days I wrote a macro to auto-delete all double spaces that our tech sales reps insisted so diligently typed.

        Later on as I migrated back into tech jobs, I was happy to see that browsers would not display consecutive spaces.

        Unfortunately, it wasn't long before the editors discovered non-breaking spaces (&nbsp). That really messed things up so I dusted off the old macro.

        It become a war of sorts between the editor and myself until I was assigned a pair of F5 BIG-IP ADCs ten or fifteen years ago.

        Imagine my glee when I implemented an iRule that automatically replaced all non-breaking and double spaces as soon as the editor submitted the text to the CMS. No matter how much they tried, they

        discovered that it was not possible for them to get those double and non-breaking spaces to stick.

        By the way, I never told anyone about that iRule...

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: I chose "I don't care"

          Then, as noted below by another commenter, you did it WRONG! And, not only THAT, you INSISTED on impressing your WRONG opinion on everyone else!!

          The standard is NOT a simple single space, the typographic standard is an EXTENDED single space

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence_spacing

          since all but typesetting programs pretty much don't handle the extended space, we, the users, put in double spaces.

          Unless you programmed to replace the double with the extended single, you messed up, and your typesetting looked terrible *and* only managed to annoy people like me who were forced to (try) to read your poorly-set type.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I chose "I don't care"

            Reading through the article, double spacing was primarly when fixed size fonts rather than proportional fonts were common. The main reason/rationale people are saying they use double spacing is muscle memory (or they have always done it this way)

            1. Alan W. Rateliff, II

              Re: I chose "I don't care"

              The extended space or double space after a sentence actually makes it stand out more and easier to visually discern individual sentences. Web pages have always flummoxed my skimming because of this and I have found it quite annoying.

              But then I also have a "-- \n" at the start of my email signature, which is no more than five lines long.

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: I chose "I don't care"

            The font typesetter can and will make the hap after a period the appropriate width.

            As long as there is only one space character.

            If there are two, then it will make the first one the proper em and the second one the en and all hell will break loose.

        2. toejam

          Re: I chose "I don't care"

          Should we be using the "when HTTP_REQUEST" event for that or is the "when SYSOP_BOFH" event more appropriate?

          1. Drew Scriver Silver badge

            Re: I chose "I don't care"

            The answer to your question must be "when HTTP_REQUEST" given the documented 10-months lapse...

            ;-)

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: I chose "I don't care"

        StargateSg7 is one of your alter-egos, and I claim my 5¢.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: I chose "I don't care"

      I find it absolutely astonishing that the double-space survived the world of 8 floppies per Meg. Think of the waste of space, if nothing else!

    3. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: I chose "I don't care"

      Here is an idea for Microsoft: GIVE US A CHOICE!

      One of the reasons why I hate the new Microsoft is they take away choice. Need to install security updates individually? Screw you. Don't want driver updates to install automatically because your driver is stable? Screw you. Don't want network printers to install automatically? Screw you. Don't want Pacific time to be the default time zone for American versions of Windows 10? Screw you. Don't want unsolicited apps to install on your computer? Screw you. Don't want Edge to load when the computer loads? Screw you. Don't want telemetry? Screw you.

      All of those things, except the first, require you to take unclear steps to change. And yet, all of them should be default. The new Microsoft thinks they know better than us. And that is simply not true. Taking away the default double-space is Microsoft way of saying "We know better than you, deal with it." This attitude has started in Windows 8 and has only gotten worse.

      1. William Old
        Joke

        Re: I chose "I don't care"

        As long as Microsoft doesn't take away to option to change from the default, I don't mind.

        If they do, I'm not going to buy another copy of Office ever again. I'll stick with the Office 97 that I already have.

    4. Man inna barrel

      Re: I chose "I don't care"

      There are greater things to be concerned about with word processors than whether to accept one or two spaces after a sentence. In my experience, word processors tend to be rubbish at typesetting in general, and their use results in badly laid out documents, inconsistently applied style rules, illegibly long line lengths, and so on. If you are concerned about the amount of horizontal space after a sentence, how about the amount of vertical space before and after a section heading?

      I had typesetting rules down to a fine art using Wordstar on DRDOS. Inserting the correct markup was a matter of muscle memory. When trying the same using Microsoft Word on W95, I kept on getting into a right mess. Sanity was eventually restored through the discovery of LaTeX on Linux. Thankfully, my present employer prefers LaTeX for engineering documents. The sales and marketing bods can use Word if they want to.

  4. Steve Foster
    Pint

    Fertile Ground

    for a Dave Gorman "Found Poem" (if only MLIGI was still around).

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

    Double spacing, on old monospace typewriters, made it easier to tell where one sentence ends and the next begins.

    Today, with proportional fonts and justification, surely there is no need (and smarter programs might detect dot-space and leave a slightly larger gap?).

    That said, given that it's going to be pretty much equal who double spaces and who single spaces, shouldn't this be a configurable option rather than an edict handed down from on high?

    1. G Watty What?

      Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

      It is configurable. It just defaults to the side of Satan.

      1. Tomato42 Silver badge

        Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

        LaTeX correctly formats spacing with just one space after the dot. Good enough for LaTeX, good enough for me.

        1. gobaskof
          Headmaster

          Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

          LaTeX adds a stretched space between sentences, so that there is extra spacing than between words unless \frenchspacing is enabled. See https://latexref.xyz/_005cspacefactor.html#g_t_005cspacefactor

    2. Lazlo Woodbine Bronze badge

      Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

      It kind of is configurable, just tell Word's grammar check to ignore it the first time you get the wiggly blue lines

    3. richardcox13

      Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

      > Double spacing, on old monospace typewriters, made it easier to tell where one sentence ends and the next begins.

      More a case of when your only typeface is Courier, steps are needed to compensate,

      I always liked TeX's approach: input is one space, but it detects end of sentences and puts in a slightly wider space (and then adjusts that for justification). These days with proportional typefaces a double space is too wide; this is helped by majuscule glyphs being bigger.

      1. The First Dave Silver badge

        Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

        Two spaces were ALWAYS too much, in any font.

      2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        So what's their position on Oxford commas?

        A full stop and a single space could be the end of an abbreviation, if you're the kind of person who still writes "Dr. Smith". Double space disambiguates that.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: So what's their position on Oxford commas?

          "Double space disambiguates that."

          Perhaps only for people who would otherwise believe that "Dr." is an entire sentence?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: So what's their position on Oxford commas?

            Or for people who can't (or won't!) grok context.

          2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: So what's their position on Oxford commas?

            So the AI that's adjusting the spacing will grok the content and determine whether it's the end of a sentence or an abbreviation?

            I'm playing devil's advocate here - not least because these dots are rarely used. But the software could treat two spaces after a full stop as an end of sentence marker and adjust the kerning accordingly. Contrast this with an algorithm that expands the spacing following a full stop unless it's a single letter (J. R. R. Tolkien) or on a list of (hopefully) user-definable abbreviations. And the user has now go to realise this is happening, locate the list of abbreviations and add every abbreviation they want to use (and never use the abbreviation at the end of a sentence.) All because...?

            1. G Olson

              Re: So what's their position on Oxford commas?

              The Devil doesn't need another advocate; he already has Microsoft.

        2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

          Re: So what's their position on Oxford commas?

          How would you have coped back before punctuation?

      3. Fluffy Cactus

        Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

        Yeah, I am so old I still end up using the "Enter" key as a "Line Feed Carriage Return" Ding Dong key, espacially when writing, uhm, inspired. Later when editing sober, I have to edit out all that stuff.

        Well, in my day, we had knights, and we liked it!

    4. Gordon 11

      Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

      Today, with proportional fonts and justification, surely there is no need (and smarter programs might detect dot-space and leave a slightly larger gap?).
      Agreed. Any reasonable word processor would put additional kerning after the end of a sentence. Whether MS Word does so I can't tell.

      Decent type-setting software (such as TeX) did it for you...and couldn't care less how many spaces (or tabs) you put there.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

        To be fair, you can tell TeX you preferences, no matter how daft they seem to onlookers.

        1. stiine Silver badge

          Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

          Its been 27 years since I worked with TeX, but I don't think there was anything you coudln't do in TeX.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isn't it just a historical anachronism?

      There are two tests for the correct spacing:

      - when reading a page of text, does it slow the reader down using either format or is there no difference?

      - is anyone ever going to read your document? Or am I just bitter and twisted from writing too much documentation that is only ever used when the "quick IM/phone call/text" results in no answer for a few hours?

  6. a cynic writes...

    I don't care whether you use 2 spaces or not...

    ...but I do care about being told to use one space because that's someone else's preference.

    1. hitmouse

      Re: "Fall Creators Update"

      You set your spacing preference yourself in the same Word Proofing settings that have been around for decades. I just checked and see my options for spacing are "don't check, one space, two spaces". My preference is "don't check".

      I presume all the IT professionals here know how to do this. Assuming they aren't the ones who've set up Office/Word with the wrong language & proofing defaults.

    2. NATTtrash Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: I don't care whether you use 2 spaces or not...

      ...but I do care about being told to use one space because that's someone else's preference

      Indeed. That with weird spelling if you write something in English (NO, en_US is NOT default in the rest of the world). Disaster strikes if you manage to write something that is regarded offensive in Clorox country (but only there), write something in another language than English, or even more disastrous, are too intelligent for your own good and have a multi language text, which is asking for the Clippy congregation from Hell. And then we're not even touching on the subject of date formats (day before or after month, are you even asking?), temperatures (since you're the ONLY country still using it, YOU are the exception), time formats (yes, AM and PM do matter, NO, not everybody is in YOUR tz, yes write times like everybody else please, because it's bloody annoying making/ getting meeting requests), the fact that oz seems to have something to do with ketchup, but not Australia, or even what kind of voltage your box runs on to begin with. And please don't get me wrong, everybody is privileged to their own quirks, but declaring your manners default is... very annoying. I suppose that's why MS document formats are still not ISO compliant. (Yes, I know they bought their own private standard one they plug market position present as "industry standard" now) </rant>

      1. Twilight

        Re: I don't care whether you use 2 spaces or not...

        For dates, the only sane answer is ISO format (yyyy-mm-dd). There's no ambiguity and everyone understands what it means.

  7. EastFinchleyite

    Not enough

    Double spacing? Pah!

    All words should stay at least 2 metres apart whether they have full stops or not.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: Not enough

      Exactly. And once every day you shall step outside your front door and applaud the spell checker.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Not enough

        Not spelling. Grammar. Ask him ----->

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Not enough

        What about the Universal Spall Chucker?

    2. HildyJ Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Not enough

      Obviously all periods should be followed by a life size Osman GIF.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Not enough

        And preceded by a major hissy-fit followed by a bout of crying?

        (Disclaimer: SWMBO thinks it's funny and says I should post it ... )

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Fluffy Cactus

      Re: Not enough

      So, now, those darn words can get corona as well? (not Smith-Corona = American typewriter company from the 1960's or so...)

      Socially distancing words.

      Much better !

  8. Spanners Silver badge
    Boffin

    It may be a US "standard", but...

    What the USA defines as correct, is not necessarily so.

    Will the next update expect me the use the "serial comma"? I am not going to. I was taught that was wrong and see no need to change,

    Before I got into IT, I learned to type. I did Secretarial Studies in evening classes and have a Scottish Higher and an RSA2. I was taught to tap the space bar twice after a full stop to try and help legibility. I know there were other reasons too but legibility still applies. It makes sentences more discrete so that people can see where one finishes and another starts. This can make it easier to understand. We have enough problems with people not reading blocks of text without actively discouraging them!

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

      I was taught how to type in grade school, over 40 years ago. In later schooling I was the head assistant to the entire Secretarial Studies department, and the most advanced IT student of the entire school.

      Double space. End of story. Microsoft can go fsck itself if it believes that proper form is do to otherwise.

      1. Geoffrey W

        Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

        RE: "Microsoft can go fsck itself if it believes ..."

        Steady on old bean, we're only talking about an extra single space here; not the zombie apocalypse, or the ribbon interface.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

          For those of us who have been taught to do this correctly, this travesty is almost on a par.

          My twopence is that it should be set as an obscure configurable option that people can tick if they were taught to type properly so we can get back to more important matters during the coronavirus apocalypse.

          1. Geoffrey W

            Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

            Isn't it configurable? Surely you just tell the spell checker to ignore this error? Right mouse click/etc

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. hitmouse

              Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

              Yes it, and every other spelling/grammar/style setting is configurable. I just checked and see my options for spacing are "don't check, one space, two spaces".

            3. Twilight

              Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

              But that's not configurable. What if I want it to flag a single space after full stop as an error?

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

            "For those of us who have been taught to do this correctly"

            Read: "For those of us who were brainwashed into believing the correct way is ..."

            The Holy Double-Space v.s. The Unbelievers, coming soon to a cinema near you (if we can ever kick this virus and put the actors back to work, that is.)

            Edit: THDSvsTU: The Sequel ... Leading and the Descenders vs the Ascenders, as written by the Late Lord Kerning.

        2. Stumpy

          Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

          Geoffery W wrote: not the zombie apocalypse, or the ribbon interface.

          The two are separate entities?

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

            The two are separate entities?

            The zombie apocalypse actually has upsides. Such as increased camaraderie and regular cardio workouts.

      2. ovation1357

        Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

        "Microsoft can go fsck itself"

        CHKDSK /F itself, surely! ;-)

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

      "It makes sentences more discrete so that people can see where one finishes and another starts. This can make it easier to understand"

      Only if your program is too stoopid (Word is... mostly) to detect the end of the sentence or does not bother about putting in a slightly larger whitespace after a full stop. Two whitespaces are w-a-a-y too big in any font, they mess up the grey value of the final page, looks like somebody did a drive by with a shotgun.

      (so yes: the spacing after the period, at the end of a sentence _only_, should be wider. Use a proper program to typeset the text.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

        "Use a prefe proper program to typeset the text"

        And therein lies the problem: IMHO what both Microsoft and other single-space proponents are suggesting is to consciously modify their active typing technique to match what you can (perceive) your output device is doing.

        Using a word processor that auto-adds end of sentence spaces? Single space key.

        Using a monotype font? Double space.

        Using email? Double space.

        Using well programmed proportional font? Single space only if your program is actively acknowledging the auto extra end of sentence space.

        This is madness. First figure out what default your program follows, then figure out how said program interprets the font of your choosing, then examine the results and modify as necessary.

        Just double space the damn thing. That's been the standard since the typewriter keyboard was invented.

        1. DCFusor Silver badge

          Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

          Yep, software is MY servant, not the other way around, and this is trivial to handle in software any way you'd like.

          I don't need a nanny - in my workflow, or from my government. Just don't.

          1. Geoffrey W

            Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

            You're arguing the case for no writing aids at all. No spell checkers. No grammar checkers. No syntax checkers. Nothing, no matter how useful they are, so just turn them all off or configure them the way you like. It's not a nanny, it's a voices off prompter, which you can tell to go away if you want to, or train it to your own writing style - you could tell it that toidi is a correct spelling in your world if you want to. I know, I know...it's Microsoft so nothing is good and all is evil in hell. I don't know why I bother arguing (Yes I do - it's fun when I'm bored.) Oh, and there's another one- Should the period go inside or outside the closing bracket? Is it (blah blah.) or (blah blah). It matters. It does, it does! I promise you it does!

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

      "What the USA defines as correct, is not necessarily so."

      Oh god, don't get me started on their asinine habit of putting sentence punctuation inside quotes...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

        But the entire sentence is being quoted, including the punctuation.

        Shall we point out the lack of a space preceding your ellipses?

        Herb Caen taught me to type ... sue him for typoes, me for content ...

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

          "But the entire sentence is being quoted, including the punctuation."

          Which makes sense if there's a question mark or A SHOUTY EXCLAMATION MARK!!! Because these are punctuation that relate directly to what is being quoted.

          To demonstrate, here is a random quote from the beginning of J G Ballard's "The Drowned World":

          “Good morning, Robert,” he greeted Kerans [...]

          So, quite literally, the quote was "Good morning (brief pause) Robert (brief pause)"? No, that second comma belongs to the structure of the sentence, not the quote. It should be outside of the speech marks where it belongs.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: (brief pause)

            Commas are more about readability (making the intended meaning clear), not about pauses in speech when you are reading it out. So there are conventions. In dialogue there is always a comma before the name or title of the person being directly addressed. Commas are not a breathing guide either.

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

          "Shall we point out the lack of a space preceding your ellipses?"

          Feel free to, but do now that there is a difference between "medial ellipses" indicating missing words, which usually has spaces around them (and sometimes in square brackets to highlight the omission) and "terminal ellipses" indicating a trailing off thought which is usually not preceded by a space.

          However there are many schools of thought on this, including one that says that each dot should have a space between them . . . like that, so there isn't really any right or wrong method (unless you fancy doing it vertically, perhaps), just different styles that are used in different places.

          1. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

            Well, I'm from the three dot journalism school, so ...

    4. Def Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

      ...but legibility still applies... This can make it easier to understand.

      Too bad this sentiment hasn't made it into the open source community yet. (Or most companies for that matter.)

      1. Geoffrey W

        Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

        RE: "...open source community yet"

        Especially in their naming skills. Who would ever think The Gimp was a graphics program rather than a deviant (YMMV) practice involving leather masks and safe words.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

          Everyone knows that "gimp" is a fishing line made out of silk and wire.

          1. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
            Boffin

            Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

            A gimp is also part of the slideway adjustment of a lathe or other machine tool.

            1. saxicola

              Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

              No, that's a gib strip. Or is that a US thing too.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

                Not US only. I bought "new old stock" gib strips when rebuilding an early '50s British made Boxford lathe a couple years ago.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

            Gimp is also the type of cordage that kids use to make lanyards at camp.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

          "Who would ever think The Gimp was a graphics program"

          Probably everybody looking for a graphics program. Nobody else would even know it existed. The name of any given thing is pretty much unimportant, other than as a handle when discussing a specific thing within it's own context. Do people (other than silly little boys) have an issue with the birds called "tits" or "boobys"?

          1. Geoffrey W

            Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

            Oh, if only I was a silly little boy, instead of the silly middle aged man of indeterminate age.

            RE:"The name of any given thing is pretty much unimportant"

            I disagree; you're saying that any word or name could be used for a FOSS project. Ok, lets have The WTF text editor, The Sexist operating system, The Little Fucker graphics program ... Actually that last one may fit judging by the language used by some Gimp users. Not all, I grant you, but...

            Names do matter.

          2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

            hee hee. you said boobies!

    5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

      The 2 space 'rule' for typewriters came about because there was no way to properly space sentences on a typewriter. So 2 spaces became the rule as the actual spacing used in books is about 1.5 spaces back then and now. This was the rule in the US since at least the mid 50s. It may have been different earlier and in other places.

    6. jake Silver badge

      Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

      So what is defined in Scotland is, in your mind, automagically correct?

      That's a trifle parochial, isn't it?

      Frankly, I never saw a real difference between one space, wide spaces and double spacing when reading any given document. My brain doesn't even register the whitespace, unless it is egregiously wide. Do the people you cite who supposedly find it easier to read double spaces go into a tizzy when confronted with tight and loose lines in fully justified text?

    7. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

      You were taught it was wrong, but the teacher was wrong!

      The serial comma (assuming you are referring to the Oxford comma) is necessary to delineate list items clearly.

      Fred's favorite musical artists are The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, and Hall and Oates.

      Fred's favorite artists are clear:

      The Rolling Stones

      Simon and Garfunkel

      Hall and Oates

      In contrast...

      Fred's favorite musical artists are The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel and Hall and Oates.

      Fred's favorite artists are:

      The Rolling Stones

      Simon

      Garfunkel and Hall and Oates

      or is it

      The Rolling Stones

      Simon and Garfunkel and Hall

      Oates

      or perhaps

      The Rolling Stones

      Simon and Garfunkel and Hall and Oates

      Or, of course, the answer we know to be the actual one, the one answer that is unambiguous with the Oxford comma. If you were not familiar with any of the artists in the list, you would not know which of the four lists were the real one. You could grok out that all three of the wrong answers require a band to call itself something clumsy, like "Garfunkel and Hall and Oates," rather than the preferred list form, but you don't really know that such a clumsy usage is not actually how the artists in question refer to themselves without having prior knowledge.

      Of course, not all examples are as ambiguous as this one, but the Oxford comma always works, while the dropped comma relies on the reader to grok out that the last item is not a compound item containing the word 'and'. The comma makes it very clear and precise regardless of context, and clarity should be the purpose of language.

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

        The serial comma (assuming you are referring to the Oxford comma)...

        I am well aware that the OUP is very keen on it but my, Oxford educated, English teacher was not.

        Certainly this was a while ago (1975 and after) and errors have been made into standards in cases ranging from Chaucer to Shakespeare but I have now reached the age where I can be critical of "modern" things and feel that if I limit this to such petty matters as this, I will do no harm...

    8. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

      Serial/Oxford comma debate:

      Without serial comma:

      "I went for dinner with my parents, Dick and Jane."

      Did you go with your parents, and Dick, and Jane, or are your parents called Dick and Jane?

      With serial comma:

      They are my parents:

      "I went for dinner with my parents, Dick and Jane."

      They are some other friends:

      "I went for dinner with my parents, Dick, and Jane."

      1. elgarak1

        Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

        "I went for dinner, with Dick, Jane and my parents."

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

          Use as few commas as possible as long as it makes sense. Sometimes reordering the clauses removes the need for a comma. Add an Oxford comma if it's needed.

          "I went for dinner with Dick, Jane and my parents."

    9. veti Silver badge

      Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

      You are aware that the "serial comma", also known as the "Oxford comma", is the more traditional British usage? It's one of a handful of instances ('-ize' at the end of words being another) where British English chose to 'modernize' itself and American English stayed with the older usage. The OED to this day supports both the comma and '-ize'.

      As for your legibility argument: again, are you aware that when you post a comment online, HTML will remove any extra spaces you type in? Look here: how many spaces do you see directly after the colon? (Hint, I stopped counting after 20.) So you've been happily reading, and posting, text without the extra spaces for as long as you've been online.

      1. John PM Chappell

        Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

        Are you aware that you're quite wrong? I would have been gentler, but you chose to put yourself out there by seeking to correct someone else, and being in error as follows:

        Oxford comma is not 'traditional' nor 'more traditional' (whatever that is supposed to mean). It's an innovation, and was assumed by many readers to be "an American thing", outside academics who were familiar with it from dealing with OUP.

        American English makes exclusive use of -ze, even where it does not belong per the academic rule for its use. The 'modernization' was actually a 'fad' and is, in fact, the use of -ise over -ize (to look more 'French'). Incorrect is the use of zed in some -ise words, and any -yse words, full treatment of that topic being beyond the scope of a quick correction (and handled in detail online in several locations).

        The OED is merely *one* dictionary of English, albeit my preferred tome, and it actually discusses both topic but does not prescribe -ize or 'Oxford comma'. It can't, after all, since they are, at this point, merely questions of style and there *no* language authority for English (for better or worse).

        Legibility studies say it actually makes no difference, at all. We're basically in agreement, there.

  9. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Install LyX

    And watch the rude comment every time you attempt this double-space horror.

  10. Franco Silver badge

    I wasn't even aware this was a thing until recently. I was taught to always use 2 spaces after a full stop, and about 2 months ago I submitted a document to a fellow contractor for his feedback and he went off on a rant about single spaces being the way to go. He was the only one in the team, everyone else defaulted to 2 as well.

    Surely though this should be an either/or option in Word? There's no way anyone is going to break the habit of years of bashing away on keyboards just because Microsoft say so.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      It would be handy if Word would allow you to set the number of spaces of the full stop - but then enforce it automatically. I can see their logic in asking 'is this a mistake' but once you've told it, it can silent correct either way.

      Of course, this is the old tabs vs spaces argument for millennials :)

      ---> obvs...

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        I very nearly failed a piss-easy basic Word course I was forced to do. Because I used minimal effort for my coursework - naturally. Asked to bang out a letter, I did exactly that because I could write the address after tabbing across each line to the right side of the screen quicker than I could take my hand off the keyboard to highlight it all and hit the right justify button. The legacy of learning on a massive old typewriter - back in the day. But then it got even sillier as I think I was marked down for doing the old skool Dear Sir / Yours Sincerely thing, rather than something more modern - as if that's anything to do with my competence in using word processors. Excel is all the word processor anyone needs anyway...

        I did get a free copy of Lotus Smart Suite with my IBM 386, back in the early 90s. So I suppose Word can never be my least favourite word processor.

        1. Steve Foster
          Facepalm

          Re: "the old skool Dear Sir / Yours Sincerely thing"

          I was taught that it should be "Dear Sir / Yours faithfully" or "Dear Mr. Smith / Yours sincerely", and never vice versa. Is that considered anachronistic now as well?

          1. Mark192 Bronze badge

            Re: "the old skool Dear Sir / Yours Sincerely thing"

            Steve the Amber Nectar said "I was taught that it should be "Dear Sir / Yours faithfully" or "Dear Mr. Smith / Yours sincerely", and never vice versa. Is that considered anachronistic now as well?"

            Just the mere fact you're writing a letter is anachronistic so go all the way! :-)

            With emails, it's 'Hi' or, if being 'formal', 'Hi First name'.

            The only emails I get that address me with any true formality are from the various Nigerian princes, politicians etc that are attempting to defraud me.

        2. veti Silver badge

          There is never a good reason to "hit the right-justify button".

          The correct longhand way to do it is to define a paragraph style with the right-justified attribute, then apply that style to the text you want to appear that way.

          The quick and dirty way, if you can't be bothered with that, is <Ctrl-R>, which takes a fraction of the time of taking your hands off the keyboard to move a mouse to find a button on a toolbar.

          Either way, the button is just wrong.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            I can never be arsed with paragraph styles. But then that's because the only time I've ever done any serious amounts of writing that wasn't emails was at university for essays (when I did use styles). Well I suppose there was the time I first started to write letters to family and friends - before everyone got email, but that was done in longhand with a fountain pen.

            If I seriously needed to use word processors, I'd probably make the effort to learn to use the tools properly.

      2. hitmouse

        It already does, and most of the settings that people here bitch about have always been easily configurable in Word's quite detailed proofing settings section. Options for spacing are "don't check, one space, two spaces".

        Oxford comma also configurable. Chances are if your language settings are not English(US) then you will get what you are used to.

  11. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    What's next?

    will word decide that upper case letters are not necessary, removing the upper case characters would free up ascii space for more emojis.

    1. Geoffrey W

      Re: What's next?

      No, because now you're just being silly.

    2. paulej72

      Re: What's next?

      HOW WOULD WE YELL?

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: What's next?

      While it's not word's decision to make, let's try it.

      do we really need capitalization to tell words apart? even proper nouns are clear enough that it's not needed. punctuation makes a clear separation in sentence parts, so we have no need of capitalization to start them. the only problem i can see is distinguishing acronyms that someone has made use the same letters as an actual word from that word would be tricky, but since most of those acronyms involve tortured word choice, that might actually be a benefit.

      Yeah, it looks weird to me too. I'm not going to do it again, but maybe we could do without capitalization.

      1. davidp231

        Re: What's next?

        Would You Rather People Type Their Documents Like This?

        Fsck's me right off.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: What's next?

          "Would You Rather People Type Their Documents Like This?"

          It WoUlD bE BeTtEr ThAn DoCuMeNtS wRiTtEn LiKe ThIs...

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: What's next?

            Strangely enough, heyrick, that has a name. Its called Ransom Note. It's not as pronounced in 7-bit ASCII (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) as it can be with multiple fonts and typefaces ...

            1. Huw D Silver badge

              Re: What's next?

              NEVER MIND THE SEX PISTOLS HERE's MY BolLocKS ?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: What's next?

                That's a pretty vacant comment ...

        2. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: What's next?

          That suggests that there is a very long title, but with no body text. Can be safely disregarded.

        3. Schultz Silver badge
          Go

          Re: What's next?

          Why not type the German Style? Capitalize all Nouns like God told you to? Makes your Sentences look nice and removes the special Treatment of God, Monday, my dog Boomer, the Catholic church, and New York.

          Seriously, it's all just a convention and we should keep it simple. Don't sweat the details, that's why you type in LaTeX.

          Beste Gr\"u\sse,

          Dein Grammatiknazi

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: What's next?

        i see no real issue with it ... but then i read e e cummings as a child.

        1. stiine Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: What's next?

          a leaf falls in lonliness.

      3. Tromos
        Joke

        Re: What's next? (@doublelayer)

        NoItIsn'tCapitalsThatAreUnnecessary,SpacesAreTheThingToGetRidOf.SavesMemory,Paper,Etc.

        What'sNotToLike?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: What's next? (@doublelayer)

          All joking aside, CamelCase aka InterCase is a known thing ...

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: What's next? (@doublelayer)

            CamelCase doesn't replace spaces, it augments them. You still need spaces to, y'know, indicate the gaps between words. Putting such random punctuation in the middle of a word may be annoying, but it's not nearly the worst offence. (That would be reserved for those cupid stunts who insist that their company's or product's name should be written in all lower case, including the initial letter. Bonus points if they try to compensate by using a different font whenever they write it themselves. Aargh.)

        2. Geoffrey W

          Re: What's next? (@doublelayer)

          ............(sic) Hint...no words at all. The silence would be lovely.

      4. veti Silver badge

        Re: What's next?

        We could certainly do without capitalisation if we had to. Many languages (check out most Asian languages, or Arabic f'rinstance) don't have a concept of capitals at all, and they seem to get along without them.

        But it's not clear how it would benefit us to do away with them. Their benefit may be marginal, but let's face it, we can use all the help we can get at reading comprehension.

      5. Mage Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: capitalization

        For centuries there were no lower case letters. The Irish monks invented them. Lots of languages still just do nothing special or use a larger letter.

        Imagine if our alphabet had more than two cases, so as to more accurately represent meaning, and they also sounded different too. No need for quote marks, speech marks, bold and italic? Not any harder for kids to learn. See kids learning Roman/Latin alphabet languages vs iconic/symbolic susch as Chinese.

      6. Mage Silver badge

        Re: capitalization, drop vowels too?

        w cld d wtht vwls t.

        d w rlly nd cptlztn t tll wrds 'prt?

        Hebrew and Arabic manage.

        Ancient Greek and some other languages didn't write the 'h', later they put an apostrophe.

        The dh, gh, bh, th mh etc in Irish used to just have a dot above the consonant. Since i could take í they never put the dot on a regular i.

        Madb is thus a contraction of Madhbh, dots were left off, which is easier to figure the pronunciation of, if you know the rules.

    4. jake Silver badge

      Re: What's next?

      But bob would have a coronary. And whatever would amfM do?

      Will no one think of the commentards before making such evil suggestions‽

    5. Geoffrey W

      Re: What's next?

      If we had no capitals then how would we "spEak You're bRanes"?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    spare disk space

    "One space good, two spaces bad?"

    Yes, due to disk space. Of course I'm being ironical :)

    But seriously, why 2 in the first place ?

    1. richardcox13

      Re: spare disk space

      Because the typefaces found on mechanical typewriters were typographic horrors.

      Two spaces did help readability (as did double line spacing – which was required in many cases).

      But with mechanical typewriters[1] being something for museums and hipsters, we should move on to better options.

      Many people were taught two spaces, but that is because the teachers were taught that. This does not make it good.

      [1] Outside parts of the Indian legal system IIRC.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: spare disk space

        My primary school teacher taught me two spaces, because we learnt on typewriters. The school did have one BBC Micro - but I'm not sure I ever got to use that, because it was actually one of the teacher's, he only let the kids he liked use it, and he didn't like me.

        35 years later, it's an ubreakable habit. I remember how much effort it cost me to type on other peoples' PCs when I lived in Belgium, and they used the Devil's own AZERTY keyboards.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: spare disk space

          I learned to type on a computer... without proportional spacing. Two spaces it was, and shall it ever be!

      2. mmccul

        Re: spare disk space

        When I learned manuscript format for submitting writing material for possible publication, I found it interesting that the explicit format was "Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced, one inch margins on all sides, two spaces after sentences," and failure to follow that format would result in your submission being tossed unread by many journals. Yes, some journals were different, but that was the most common standard, and it wasn't just what the instructor taught, it was demonstrated by the specified submission guide for the various places I looked at. I would not say it is just "because the teachers were taught that."

        Word was, and remains, a typographic neophyte. Word uses the same sized space between words as it does between sentences based on my testing in the common fonts (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, Calibri).

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: spare disk space

        "Because the typefaces found on mechanical typewriters were typographic horrors."

        You are entirely too kind.

        That said, I absolutely adore my Smith Corona portable, with Engineering enhancements ... and it even works when the electricity goes out. :-)

        1. Geoffrey W

          Re: spare disk space

          How do you type in the dark? I suppose spelling is less important then.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: spare disk space

            How do I type in the dark? The same way I type with my eyes closed, of course. Was a part of the typing course, way back when.

            However, there is no dark. We keep bees, they allow us to collect wax. Candles are plenty to proof-read by. Besides, I have Liquid Paper[0] and I'm not afraid to use it. Thank you for your concern.

            [0] You Euro types (and Brits) may prefer the copy-cat Wite-Out or Tipp-Ex ...

            1. David 132 Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: spare disk space

              Ah, I’m with you there on the candles. I don’t keep bees, but I do live with Father Jack, so..

          2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: spare disk space

            Geoffrey W,

            I always type in the dark. In the sense that I'm not looking at my hands, and my keboard is usually hidden on a little shelf underneath my monitor. Moving my keyboard out of the office, when shutting it down and bringing the computer home a few weeks ago - I noticed that only half the keys now have writing on them to tell you what letters they are. Because the thing's 20 years old, and well used. But that doesn't matter, because the F and J keys have bumps on them, which marks the position for the index fingers, and leaves your fingers on the home keys - ready to touch type.

            As jakes says, shutting your eyes was part of the course. I did it old skool, in a massive old Imperial typewriter. And you learned with boring exercises like juja[space], which was right index finger, on home key, then up, then back then left little finger then right thumb for space. And you typed that lots, until you'd got it stuck in your brain and could type while looking at the text you were copying and not the keyboard.

            In fact if I look towards the keyboard when typing, even though I can't read it without my glasses, my brain tries automatically to take over the process, and I slow down to about 40 words per minute - which is about the most I could do until the point where I was forced to type with my eyes shut - and suddenly started to double in speed (admittedly with lots of errors at first). It's funny how the brain works.

        2. ThatOne Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: spare disk space

          > my Smith Corona portable

          Be careful when you say that nowadays...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: spare disk space

      "But seriously, why 2 in the first place"

      It increased legibility in a time of monospaced fonts and a lack of kerning.

      1. Man inna barrel

        Re: spare disk space

        I write notes to myself in a text editor, using a monospace font. It has never occurred to me to type two spaces after the end of a sentence. I might try it. If it improves legibilty, I might adopt the practice. For proper documents, I use LaTeX, where hand-crafted typesetting is largely ignored, and quite right too.

  13. This is my handle

    Younger style

    Not that there's any age-ism in our field but ... a few years back I read a post (likely on LI, but I can't be sure; memory's the 2nd thing to go you know) about how to write a resume that doesn't divulge your age. Lose the double-spaces was number 1. Along with omitting a snail-mail address and of course the date of your University graduation.

    Those of us who have been doing this for awhile will also leave off the side job we had in school overclocking Apple II's, and other ancient history. If done correctly they won't distinguish yours from someone whose career began when your reverse cron CV ends.

    By the time you show up in that suit & tie you haven't worn since your niece's 2nd wedding they will hopefully be invested enough in your skills to look beyond your attire and the grey beard.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Younger style

      But how do you indicate that you have 30 years' experience in X without revealing that you're at least 40 years old?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Younger style

        Since so many recruiters demand 10 years experience in C++17, I assume you use your Microsoft tardis

    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: memory's the 2nd thing to go

      The first being memory.

      Now, where's my coat...?

      1. Gordon 11

        Re: memory's the 2nd thing to go

        Re: memory's the 2nd thing to go

        The first being memory.

        It used to be the mouse balls....

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: memory's the 2nd thing to go

          Would that be P/N 33F8462 (Domestic Mouse Balls) or P/N 33F8461 (Foreign Mouse Balls)?

          Yes, those numbers are from memory ... maybe I'm not losing it yet after all, contrary to my daughter's suspicions ...

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: memory's the 2nd thing to go

            My mouse doesn't have any balls.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: memory's the 2nd thing to go

              Of course she doesn't. Furrfu!

              The things they don't teach kids in school these days ...

    3. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Younger style

      Won't they still be able to tell when you spell out words that have emoji representations?

  14. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Pointless

    I've just pulled a book at random off the shelf, and.. it's monospaced and justified, with extra spaces added for justification between words, with a preference for inserting after a full stop.

    Ok, another book. Proportional font, can't tell the difference between dot-space and comma-space, so I assume it's a single space.

    As the majority of text is rendered in proportional fonts, and multiple spaces are run together and treated as a single token seperator (and in HTML is mandated), it's pointless to manually insrt extra ones. I've just fired up MSWord, and typed hello space space space space there and once it becomes a line break no matter how many spaces I type it remains displayed as hello space there.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      I thought Pointless was where we got our Osman measurement from!

    2. Drew Scriver Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      "I've just pulled a book at random off the shelf, and.. it's monospaced"

      Microsoft's next target: ellipses that are missing a dot...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Pointless

        And the leading and trailing spaces ...

        (Not that ElReg allows a trailing space, of course.)

  15. gerdesj Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Are those n or m spaces?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They are "m" spaces, though to my horror, Bringhurst decided that it was not necessary.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know what you Brits got taught at school

    the rest of the world use just one b... space, between sentences, no?

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: I don't know what you Brits got taught at school

      Brit here. Never heard of this double space thing until I read this article so going to keep using one space.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: I don't know what you Brits got taught at school

        Brit here. On one of the random days I actually bothered turning up for school, I appear to have absorbed the understanding that two spaces after a full stop was the done thing.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: I don't know what you Brits got taught at school

          another Brit.

          Was taught to double-space after full stop and to 1.5 space lines.

          Ignored both because double-space looks terrible in a proportional font, and I don't print documents so it's up to the reader how much of a gap they want between the lines.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: I don't know what you Brits got taught at school

      Yank here, and we were taught the "period1-space-space" typography.

      1"Full stop" for you Brits. Although in translating from English to English, I never understood the difference between a Full and Partial stop. (I understand, however, that Partial stops are popular in California, and at most red lights prior to making a right turn....)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I don't know what you Brits got taught at school

        The long-distance trucker who taught me to drive big rigs said that a full stop was when you needed a shower and to otherwise use the facilities. A partial stop was when you just wizzed past the drive-through. He kept an empty 2 liter bottle in his cab for this, said using it at freeway speeds was dangerous ... but not in the drive-through. Thankfully I never witnessed him implementing the procedure.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I don't know what you Brits got taught at school

      'Tis an age thing I think. Not that I was taught how to use computers until I'd already been working for several years - and most of that was related to nearly sliding into becoming a database admin (the company went bust before I could start the job). So I got taught to do it on a touch typing course 35 years ago- on a typewriter. Presumably if it gets taught now, it's by people who learned the same way I did?

  17. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Skype

    I wondered why I was able to add background yesterday on my personal machine, the green screening effect works better than I thought (Still some iffy cropping against some surfaces).

    However I feel its been added just because Zoom can do it.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Skype

      I heard a semi-professional podcaster talking about it last week. Saying how much he liked Zoom and how he was slightly annoyed that this lockdown had caused loads of people to use it, becuase it had been his little secret before. His comment on Skype was, "how can they have failed to improve their product in 15 years?"

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Skype

        Because removing features and breaking things is a lot of work

    2. Jason Hindle

      Re: Skype

      I’ve not tried it yet, but Zoom asks if your using a green screen. I’m guessing it works far more nicely with one of those.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please

    Stop calling a full stop a period. Period.

  19. William Higinbotham

    Word is dead anyway.

    Everyone is going to Twitter and who would use double spaces in this app anyway?

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Word is dead anyway.

      My phone will automatically insert a full stop and capitalize the following letter if I type a double space. I always use double space at the end of a sentence as it's easier than performing the shift operations necessary to manually type either a full stop or a capital letter.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Word is dead anyway.

      Everyone?

  20. HildyJ Silver badge
    WTF?

    Kerning

    Professional typesetting long ago introduced the concept of m and n spaces. Books used the narrower n space between words and the wider m space between sentences. Typewriters can't kern so you typed one space between words and two spaces at the end of a sentence. Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces making two spaces obsolete.

    Now can we please get back to anything else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kerning

      Yes, the additional spacing between sentences can be seen in the First Folio. The only reason for two spaces in a word processor is if you use a monospace font like courier. I still use two spaces in email because some recipients turn off html formatting and use monospace fonts or a curses text based client like alpine.

    2. I am the liquor

      Re: Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces

      Do they though? At least in MS Word and LibreOffice Writer, a space looks the same size whether between words or between sentences.

      I just tried doing the double-space thing in Calibri and Times New Roman, and you know I think it actually does help readability in both fonts.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces

        Interesting that you found double-spacing helps readability in Times New Roman. My experience is that the only thing that helps readability with Times New Roman is choosing another font.

        ...and that includes Comic Sans...

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces

          I was taught that Times Roman (or a similar serif font) is usually best for printed documents. Ariel (or a similar san-serif font) is usually best for documents that will be viewed on a VDU.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces

            For me it's entirely a stylistic choice: I really do not prefer serif fonts as they, IMHO, imply an old fashioned ideology. I personally prefer sans serif in all communications, paper or electronic. Block formatting as well; when combined, serif and semi-block, it just yells "1970's!" to me.

            1. I am the liquor

              Re: Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces

              If you're worried about looking dated, just use Eurostile Extended - then your documents will be permanently 20 years in the future.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces

            Ariel makes my eyes hurt after a few minutes. It's nowhere to be seen on this computer.

            1. AJ MacLeod

              Re: Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces

              Just as well - you're supposed to put it in the washing machine, not your eyes...

          3. Man inna barrel

            Re: Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces

            I have said this before, but Times New Roman is rubbish for the average report or letter printed as a single column on A4 or letter paper. The letters are deliberately made narrow to fit into newspaper columns. The clue is in the name. It was based on a font designed for the (London) Times newspaper.

            When Times New Roman is used for typical office purposes, the lines tend to be too long for legibility, unless the type size is enlarged, which looks a bit odd. I learned that I good target for line length is about 60 to 80 printed characters. I found that most serif fonts other than Times New Roman would meet this. You might need wider margins than you are used to. I use 12pt Palatino in LaTeX documents, and this looks well balanced on A4.

            I do not understand why a specialist typeface like Times New Roman was chosen as a default serif font. I am not saying that it is badly designed or ugly, but it is just unsuited to the tasks for which it is most often employed.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces

          Times New Roman is fine for the environment it was designed for, which is multiple narrow columns of fully justified text.

          In any other kind of layout, it's just too horrible to look at. If your lines are more than about 20 ems wide, then for Garamond's sake choose a different font.

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Kerning

      If you are at school and writing a term paper that has to be 10 pages long then a double space after each full stop might save your scrawny little ass some days.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Kerning

        If you take the time to learn LaTeX, you can add an extra 10-15 percent between words, too ... and even a percent or so between letters. Most readers will never spot the difference, especially in fully justified text ... and just think, you'll only spend several hours (a couple days, at most) learning to cheat a quarter page out of your output!

        1. stiine Silver badge

          Re: Kerning

          The last paper I wrote in college in '93 was written in LaTex. Single spaced in a text file, it was just over 2 pages ... after printing it, it was just over three pages, which was the requirement of the class. I don't remember all of the tweaks (font, kerning, margins, etc) I used to make that paper longer, but I remember asking several document-specialist co-workers (since I was sysadmin at the time) for just such help.

    4. mmccul

      Re: Kerning

      MS Word does not change the space size after sentences.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Kerning

        The "fix" is to write in 12-point font and make the period (sic) 18 point. It will look the same but almost double the space following.

        1. Man inna barrel

          Re: Kerning

          Oh cripes! Inserting an 18pt space in 12pt text; what a hideous kludge! I have not tried this, but I suspect it might affect line spacing. I am never entirely sure what a word processor might decide is the "right thing" when I try to micromanage layout like that, which is one reason why I very rarely use a word processor.

  21. philnc

    XyWrite

    The _only_ grammar checker that I ever found tolerable was Grammatik IV (DOS) back in the 90s. At the time XyWrite was the wordprocessor of choice in my law firm. Even then, I usually ignored it. Over the years, one of the first things I do with a newly installed copy of Microsoft Word is disable both grammar and spell-checking, finding both annoyances and unhelpful. Instead, I rely on hard copies of Strunk & White's _The Elements of Style and Webster's _New World Dictionary_ that are always within easy each. Microsoft flagging two spaces after a punctuation mark? Barbaric.

    1. hitmouse

      Re: XyWrite

      Only flags it if you set it in your proofing preferences. You can have it ignore it (which it defaults to on my Word) or set a preference of 1 or 2 spaces. Easy, just what you'd expect a word processor to do.

  22. Macs1000

    Sorry, but you're all wrong. Many years ago, in the Civil Service, when they used to Do Thing Properly, three spaces was the rule!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Coat

      Three Spaces for the Civil Service, under the sky.

      One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

      In the Land of Redmond where the Shadows lie.

      One Space to rule them all, One Space to find them,

      One Space to annoy them all, and in the darkness bind them.

      sorry, I've spent all day trying to finish the end of year books to send to the accountants - and I think it might be starting to have an effect on me. I'll get my coat - the one with the, well you'll never guess what I've got in my pocketses...

      1. jake Silver badge

        "you'll never guess what I've got in my pocketses..."

        The Chicago Manual of Style? ::ducks::

        (Mine's the one with the AP Stylebook in the inside pocket ... where I can't see it.)

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          jake,

          My favourite science fiction writer, C. J. Cherryh, used to go off on a big old rant about the Chicago Manual of Style - and how it was used by evil editors as a way to try and destroy her books. And change stuff that she meant to be like that dammit.

          But it's not something that reared its ugly head this side of the pond. I've never been all that personally attached to my writing style, so I've never cared enough to get upset. I'm happy to change my style to suit, if there's sufficient reason to make the effort.

          The only thing that annoys me is that if I'm trying to do something, I don't want my bloody computer to interfere, because the idiots who wrote the software think they know better. I'm happy to use a spell checker to make sure I've not made a mistake, but once I've been through and sorted that out, I don't expect stuff to still be underlined as wrong. And equally having the computer format stuff for me could be quite usefu, but having things changed as I do them is bloody annoying, as I want stuff to stay how I put it there, unless I knowingly change it. Because the computer might be wrong, and is too stupid to know! So I need the programmers, who think they are so clever, to ask my permission first - in case I'm in a hurry and not going to have time to go back and check they haven't fucked things up while I wasn't looking.

          1. jake Silver badge

            That's why the AP book's stored where I can't see it.

            It's also why when I'm typing, I usually type in vi on a so-called "dumb" terminal with a model M keybr0ad. I know of no combination that allows me to put my thoughts into a computer faster and with fewer distractions. If needs be, I'll clean up what I've written and put it into the format that is expected by the intended reader AFTER I've written it ... Doesn't matter if it's a post here on ElReg, a contract, a bill of sale, a dead-tree letter to MeDearOldMum, a nasty email to the local News station about their latest cock-up (or my congress critter about the same), one of the books I'm supposedly writing, or whatever I'm hacking on in the kernel at the moment. Etc. It all starts in vi. ASCII can be imported into anything as I see fit. Nice, clean, simple.

            That's not to say my copy of vi is bone stock, it's not. In fact, it's rather heavily customized. But that'll happen when a hacker's been using a tool for a few decades ... It's MY copy of vi, and it works the way I want it to work. Multibillion dollar international advertising machines can go jump ... they have absolutely zero clues about how I use my tools. And from what I could see back when I tried to make sense of the MSDN (starting in the year dot, '92, until I told 'em to bugger off in around 2005), they don't want to know, either. They don't care. They know my needs better than I do, apparently. Fuck 'em.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Sorry, but you're all wrong. Many years ago, in the Civil Service, when they used to Do Thing Properly, three spaces was the rule!

      Exactly, if it was good enough for Winston Churchill then it's good enough for the rest of us.

  23. alain williams Silver badge

    The Brexit brigade will be up in arms!

    A single space after a full stop is called French spacing. Farage will be apoplectic and wanting to know why Microsoft has sided with the EU!

    1. gobaskof
      Megaphone

      Re: The Brexit brigade will be up in arms!

      Doesn't matter how many spaces I type LaTeX will remove excess ones. I always get an extra space after a sentence even when I don't type it (unless I enable \frenchspacing). All spaces are equal but some are more equal than others.

    2. I am the liquor

      Re: The Brexit brigade will be up in arms!

      Interesting that the print example of wide sentence spacing shown in that Wikipedia article is in German. I guess double-spacing between sentences is especially helpful when all nouns have capital letters.

  24. IGnatius T Foobar ! Bronze badge

    Two spaces for legibility...

    Two spaces after a full stop are for legibility, but let's be honest -- the way most people write on the Internet these days, legibility is a distant memory.

  25. EastFinchleyite

    Underscore

    While we are at it, can we extend this splendid debate to include the value and desirability of using an underscore (e.g _ ) to indicate a space where none is allowed. An example of this is in email addresses.

    Should they be double spaced (eg. __) in the same manner.?

    We can't let a really futile argument like this die without getting onto page 2 of the comments.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Underscore

      "We can't let a really futile argument like this die without getting onto page 2 of the comments."

      Page three now ... probably five before morning.

  26. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    goodideathereisnoneedforspacesorpunctuation

    1. Eclectic Man
      Coat

      Vwls

      Dn'tndvwlsrspcs.

      1. I am the liquor

        Re: Vwls

        No, I didn't know dove-owl was a species either.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Boffin

      Aaaaarrgghhh!!!

      MY EYES!!!!!!

  27. davenewman

    Your PC is not a typewriter

    Was the title of a book in the 1990s. The author pointed out that with proportional fonts, the way to make text look good is to use the conventions of typesetting rather than typewriting. So only one space after a full stop in proportional fonts, 2 spaces in monospace fonts. (Word know which font you are using.)

    1. albaleo

      Re: Your PC is not a typewriter

      Just to stir things up even more, I believe the original title was "The Mac is not a typewriter".

  28. Dwarf Silver badge
    Devil

    Consistency

    Curly brackets should be used to define paragraphs (blocks) and a semicolon at the end of each sentence (statement)

    White space should never be used to define structure and he reader must assume that multiple white space is syntactically identical as a single white space. i.e. [\w] is identical to [\w+]. White space can be used to aid readability,

    Or am I thinking about something else :-)

    Seriously though, this is why I refuse to learn python and stick to proper language structures.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wish I'd heard of this "double-space" convention years ago - ideally before I started dictating my astronomy dissertation to a very literal typist.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Can't you just search and replace?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nah, I'd have been unlikely to find a better typist who would work for free.

  30. Someone Else Silver badge

    Cute Story (YMMV, of course)

    A (ahem!) while ago...my niece, who was about 7 at the time, was learning to type on my old (ahem!) Compaq 286. My wife and I watched as, at the end of each sentence, she put two fingers on the screen, and advanced the cursor until it was no longer covered by her fingers, then resumed typing the next sentence. We asked her why she did that, and she said that her teacher told her to put two fingers on the page after each sentence so there would be enough space between sentences. So she was just following instructions from her teacher on the computer.

    She was a munchkin, so I don't think that two fingers was anything more than two spacebar taps....

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Cute Story (YMMV, of course)

      "So she was just following instructions from her teacher on the computer."

      Exactly. As she should at that age.

      And now (ahem) that she is an adult?

  31. ovation1357

    The main problem is that Word is a bit pants.

    Let's face it, Word is pretty hopeless when it comes to formatting and layout. Everyone from novices to seasoned professionals seems to end up with weird side-effect formatting, often culminating in deletion and recreation of a whole section and sometimes even the whole content to a new document.

    I grew up during the 80s in England and I do remember being told about the double-space after a full stop on typewriters but I think I typically use just one space these days. Regardless, it's not Word's job to set the rule on this. Whenever I start using a new copy of Word (and this is sadly also somewhat true for LibreOffice) I have to go turning off a load of their automatic 'correction' features. Auto-capitalisation is especially annoying when you're writing something technical.

    One thing I find sorely missing from word is any kind of built in 'code block' as you get with many Wikis and the like. I've seen so many instruction manuals written in word where the commands or code snippets are wrong because of auto-caps or mangling of quote marks.

    Like with most M$ products that I'm forced to use, I generally find that my user preferences are the exact opposite of the defaults. Almost everything automatic goes off for starters.

    If I ever need to produce a nicely typeset document I think I'll give LaTex a go as it sounds a million times more controllable once you're past the learning curve.

    1. hitmouse

      It sounds like your main gripe is that Word is configurable. I don't know why people are more upset by setting the spacing preference then they are at setting their favourite default font or margin size.

      Code blocks are trivial to do with styles. Let me Google it for you ...

      1. ovation1357

        A very poor second to code blocks is fairly easy using styles, sure. You can set a monospace font but last time I googled this (which was admittedly a while back as I haven't needed to use Word any time recently) there was no simple way to define a simple block element which could, for example, have ALL autocorrections of any kind contextually disabled for text typed/pasted into that box, and a default paste of 'keep text only'.

        1. hitmouse

          Turning autocorrect/proofing off is one element of a style.

          If you make a paste error than undo + redo with preferred paste mode is about two seconds of work. Making a word processor into a code editor is a classic example of asking for feature bloat.

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Do you know how long it takes to delete all of the autocorrect entries from the latest version? Long enough for me to curse every single one of the developers.

      I, personally, disable spell checking and grammar checking. My computer is slow enough as it is, and when more than half of what I type is system names...

      I also taught myself to touchtype by turning off the lights and back in the day, I could overflow my 1200baud modem. But even that wasn't fast compared to the programmer upstairs when I worked at a university. He received the first PC in the department, and only kept it for an hour or so because he could type faster, accurately, than the computer could process it, so he would type type type beeeeeeeep, curse, type type type type beeeeeeeeeep. 30 minutes of that and the old Wyse-50 was back on his desk and he was back to his normal 150+wpm.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        +1 for the Wyse reference...I doubt that more than 5% of readers know what that is, and probably less than 10% of those have ever laid hands on one.

      2. hitmouse

        Just set the document or text range to no proofing. Easy. Doesn't require you mucking around with any other feature disabling.

    3. Eclectic Man

      If you think MS Word is bad, try ...

      *** 'Wordstar' ***.

      A superb program for those with indestructible little fingers (every formatting feature is/was accessed via Ctrl+ ).

      Or what about 'WordPerfect' or what I used for my maths thesis, 'Spellbinder'.

      I reckon LateX is actually hard to beat, as it separates the 'What you see', from the 'what you get' in a very nice logical way. Although it does tend to implement what Donald Knuth (one of my favourite Donalds)* reckons is 'least badness' in text in an American way.

      *(Other favourite Donalds are: Mr Duck and Mr Warrington.)

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: If you think MS Word is bad, try ...

        Don't forget another favorite Donald: Dunn

        Link, because once again, I'm showing my age, and a good number of commentards might not get the reference.

  32. tygrus.au

    I've dropped the "Office" from long shortcuts for 20 years

    I would shorten the desktop and Start menu shortcuts to be like "MS Word 2000" for more than 20 years. Keeping the "MS" as the start keeps them sorted together as a group. Microsoft are including non-Office apps & services so dropped the "Office", nothing special.

  33. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Windows

    Dump this modern rubbish...

    Documents were so much more artistic when there was no punctuation or vowels, and the margins had paintings of knights jousting snails.

  34. mmonroe

    It would be better if Office highlighted a document written in Comic Sans as wrong.

  35. Willie T

    This is news?

    Must be a slow news day? This has been the standard for electronic documents for years now. As a tech guy in my 50s I was taught typing with 2 spaces following end of sentence. It has been many years since I was rudely corrected by a millennial editing my docs that I was hopelessly behind the curve. And I believe Word has been flagging my accidental double-spaces as typos for some time now.

    But don't let this discourage the MS haters from piling on - enjoy yourselves :-)

  36. dvd

    Extended Space

    Word fucks about with dashes to make em dashes and en dashes - why can't it change dot space space at the end of a sentence to a dot extended space?

  37. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. I am the liquor

    Typochondria

    Wow, 5 pages of comments, every single one about just one of the four stories in the round-up article. People go proper nuts about typography. I include myself in that.

    I can't help wondering if we shouldn't standardise the whole Roman-alphabet world on 3 fonts and then abolish the whole field of typography. Imagine the time savings. To avoid unending arguments about what the the 3 allowed fonts should be, we'd have to pick ones that everyone hates, so probably Times New Roman, Arial and Comic Sans.

  39. Gob Smacked
    Paris Hilton

    LOL - only space <x> remarks

    There was an entire article, multiple issues.. and the only thing we all dive into: how to type space correctly [yeah, I was hyped too initially :) ]

    Seems we're all pretty much the same kind of people - who would have thought that...?

  40. Andy Goss

    Two spaces? How quaint.

    That's typewriter era stuff. I've been using one space since some time last century.

    Microsoft, not that I use them these days, were they not the outfit that for many years thought Oklahoma was spelt "Okalahoma"?

  41. briesmith

    Next Opportunity for some Fascism

    I'm happy with this innovation; never used two spaces since WordStar came along in the late 19th century.

    What I would like to see would be the automatic excision of commas in address blocks, salutations and signature blocks.

    They've been deprecated since the Second World War when the Civil Service calculated that they cost more typist hours than boot polishing cost squaddies in the army, or something like that.

    Not only are they a waste of time, they are really ugly. Come on Microsoft, while you've got your fascist hat on, tackle these pointless commas.

  42. William Old

    US standards went out of the window when (almost) half of the population voted Trump* in as President.

    Problems with grammar spelling aren't an issue - hey, anyone can make a mistake - but Trump as PRESIDENT????

    Has anyone in the USA died from injecting disinfectant yet?

    * In the UK, a "trump" is a fart...

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