[Scribus] On extra space [bug 424]

Jeff Lasman blists
Thu Apr 29 16:45:34 CEST 2004

On Wednesday 28 April 2004 09:57 am, Mardigrafe - Louis Desjardins 

> It is of course
> very common to put 2 spaces at the end of a sentence. Many people
> just don't know that typography in general doesn't like those extra
> spaces!

First a short discourse on the history of spacing, as learned by this 
one individual typographer through the course of his career:

In 1960, in Miami, Florida, in High School (grade 10, age 15) I took a 
class in typing and learned that one was always to insert two spaces 
after a period.

I was an editor of my High School newspaper, and in typing our stories 
and articles for submission we used two spaces after the period, though 
we did notice that the commercial typesetters who typeset our school 
newspaper did only use one space after the periods in our work.

In the early 1970s, in New York City, I became an apprentice 
typographer, and learned that one was always to use one space after a 
period.  Because I learned not on linotype equipment with hot metal, 
but rather on Alphatype equipment using film fonts and (for that time) 
excellent control over kerning and tracking, I even learned that when 
working in larger sizes one would often use even less than one space 
after a period, to create better color and flow in a document.

I've always been able to keep the two distinct and separate in my mind, 
based on the type face I'm using at the moment.  For example, I'm 
typing this email as plain-text, and meant to be displayed in a fixed 
width font such as Courier (which imitates the Courier font IBM used in 
early electric typewriters) and I'm using two spaces after a period, 
without even thinking about it.  (So if you use a proportional font to 
view my email you'll see it "wrong".)

My best guess is that the reason linotype setters used single spaces was 
a mechanical limitation; my belief is that in the early days of machine 
set type it wasn't easy to place to expanding spaces next to each 

> This is why professionnals rely on utilities to get rid of
> all those spaces that can affect the overall quality of typography.

Professionals do tracking and kerning in their sleep.  Amateurs 
pretending to be professionals rely on utilities because they haven't 
learned how to "set" type, and must rely on computerized systems to do 
it for them <smile>.

> That said, there are some cases where an extra space is needed. So I
> agree Scribus shouldn't eliminate extra spaces automatically. But
> there is still a need to address the issue nonetheless. Because I
> also agree with the bug reporter that 2 spaces are something you
> don't want, in general. This could be handled through the
> Search/Replace dialog... and it could be made easier if users could
> use the feature throughout a whole document, at once.

I suppose the best way to handle this would be to automatically correct 
double-spaces to single-spaces, after a period, in justified documents 
but to leave spacing alone in flush left and flush right documents.

In my opinion that would preserve typographic appearance, color and flow 
for justified type, and would still allow the typographer to make 
design decisions where s/he wanted spacing to be under his/her control.

> As it is, this feature works only in an active text box. My
> suggestion : feature enhancement to allow Search/Replace throughout a
> whole document.

Once all the bugs are out of, and all the enhancements in, the text 
editor, then I'd say that's the best place to do it.  In the meantime I 
agree with you.

Jeff Lasman, nobaloney.net, P. O. Box 52672, Riverside, CA  92517 US
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