# [scribus] Removing extra spaces??

john Culleton John at wexfordpress.com
Thu Nov 13 20:56:46 UTC 2014

On Sat, 08 Nov 2014 22:07:02 -0500
Gregory Pittman <gpittman at iglou.com> wrote:

> In my tinkering way I have made a script that
> gives you two possibilities, changing a double
> space to an em space, or to a single space.
>
> http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Double2emspace.py
>
> As you can see at the bottom of the wiki page,
> I didn't really like the end result of an em
> space between sentences, but perhaps there
> might be some nostalgic use someone might have
> for this.
>
> Greg
>

>
>
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A little history. Books published prior to
about 1930 in the USA used a little extra space
after comma etc. and more after a full stop. I
have a book published in 1907 where the extra
spacing is clearly visible. When the typewriter
came along the instructions were to put two space
characters after a full stop to emulate this
practice. In the 1930's the extra spacing was
removed by publishers, presumably hoping to save
pages. At that time setting two spaces at the end
of a full stop was deprecated as being
"typewriter spacing."

When TeX was created in about 1971 or
thereabouts the default spacing was a small
extra amount after comma, a little more after
colon and semicolon and two full
ems after a full stop like period, question
mark. To disable this one inserts the command
\frenchspacing

There are two macros in plain TeX and indeed in
all other TeX formats that define \frenchspacing
and \nonfrenchspacing. One can redefine one of the
macros to set more reasonable values for a
particular book. I happen to prefer some extra
space after a punctuation mark, e.g. after a full
stop but not the two full spaces (roughly) that
are the default in TeX.  In my view extra space
increases readability, I can't use too much space
however because some purist will scream
"typewriter spacing." And of course Europeans can
always use the unaltered version of
\frenchspacing.

The command that defines the width of each
letter is \sfcode. The  default \sfcode for lower
case letters and punctuation is e.g.,
\sfcode'a=1000

The macros are on page 351 of "The TeXBook" for the
curious.

What is the effect on Scribus? By default it
uses the equivalent of \frenchspacing. I don't
propose to change that in my books. But for
long text only books I use TeX anyhow. Scribus is
a different animal.

John Culleton
Wexford Press
Free list of books for self-publishers:
http://wexfordpress.net/shortlist.html
PDF e-book: "Create Book Covers with Scribus"
available at
http://www.booklocker.com/books/4055.html

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