I have edit­ed all sorts of doc­u­ments over the last 28 years. I couldn’t even begin to count how many pages that’d be. Just in the last year and a half that I’ve been in busi­ness full-time, I’ve edit­ed at laest a thou­sand pages. One com­mon cor­rec­tion I make is chang­ing two spaces fol­low­ing a peri­od to one space.

Despite what you might hear from one-space pro­po­nents, dou­ble spac­ing is actu­al­ly cen­turies old and sin­gle spac­ing is the rel­a­tive new­com­er.

Up until at least the 1980s, dou­ble spac­ing was still taught in typ­ing class­es (which is why there are still so many peo­ple who abide by this prac­tice), but even by then, the move to sin­gle spac­ing had been under­way for sev­er­al decades.

Today, sin­gle spac­ing is catch­ing on. Some social media plat­forms even auto­mat­i­cal­ly replace dou­ble spaces with sin­gle spaces after you press the Post but­ton, and HTML ren­ders only one space no mat­ter how many times you hit the space bar.

In fact, the big three style guides (AP, Chica­go, and MLA) all pro­mote sin­gle spac­ing. That’s why I fol­low the con­ven­tion.

When it comes down to it, it’s per­son­al pref­er­ence. To be safe, check if your com­pa­ny has a style guide and if such a guide address­es this issue. If it does, fol­low its rec­om­men­da­tion. Oth­er­wise, it’s up to you.

As for me, I’ll still keep mov­ing on with the sin­gle space.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness. Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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