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June 01, 2009


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Roger Agness

How awesome was that! I finally have the definitive word that I can point someone to, and it's not just me saying it.


Now, if only someone can explain this one to me:

For years the default font used by Word was Times New Roman 10pt. I would always have students change it to 12pt (standard typewriter size) during the first class session, 1.) because 10pt is just too small to read unless it is a legal contract and 2.) so they would see how to change their default settings.

Now suddenly Word 2007 uses Calibri 11pt.

Any ideas from your writing/documentation experts as to why they made the change, and why they changed to Calibri?

Is it any more readable than TNR? I had always understood that serif fonts were best for body copy because the serifs helped to lead the eye across a sometimes-wide page, and that sans-serif Arial was best (keeping it simple, using just two basic fonts out of the many that shipped with the package) for headlines.

Thank you so very much. I am glad I stumbled upon your site.


Roger Agness
Orlando, FL


With all due respect, I find this to be problematic.
In our written word where we use the period for so much more than denoting the end of a sentence, the two spaces serve to show the reader the completion of a thought, rather than the end of an abbreviation. The period serves as a "stop" to interrupt the jumbling of words in long paragraphs. The extra space accentuates this. Take for example, the sentences, "I will meet Dr. Laura, Ph.D along with Mr. and Mrs. Smith for dinner at 8:00 p.m. at St. Clouds' on 4th Ave. Mr. Smith will have my father's book with him." The extra space after "Ave." turns nonsense into two complete thoughts.

Also, Ms. Ruby, with your experience editing at the American Psychological Association, you must have noticed that the extremely technical writing found in the sciences can be hard on the eye. Didn't you find the spaces between the sentences helped you refocus and maintain comprehension?

Further, even extremely modern devices, such as the iPhone recognize the two spaces as an aspect of modern typing. To finish a typed sentence on these devices, one need only hit the space key twice.

Jennie Ruby

These are the standards for published and desktop published work:

Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, 2.12 “A Single character space, not two spaces, should be left after periods at the ends of sentences (both in manuscript and in final, published form) and after colons.”

Gregg Reference Manual, 10th edition, 102 “If you are preparing manuscript on a computer and file will be used for typesetting, use only one space and ignore the issue of visual appearance….If the manuscript has already been typed with two spaces at the end of every sentence, use the Replace function to change two spaces to one space throughout.”

In word processing applications, do whatever you think looks good. However, for exceptional examples such as the one you give, two spaces will definitely help clarify the issue.

Gregg Reference Manual, 102, “As a general rule, use one space after the period at the end of a sentence, but switch to two spaces whenever you feel a stronger visual break between sentences is needed.…When an abbreviation ends one sentence and begins the next, the use of one space after the period that ends the sentence may also be inadequate.”

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