Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Consistent Spacing.

Consistent Spacing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 5, 2014)

There is an unwritten rule in typesetting that there should only be one space after the end of a sentence. This provides the best visual appearance on a printed page, particularly when using proportional typefaces. The problem is that it is easy to add additional spaces at the end of a sentence without even realizing it. The following macro, CheckSpaces, is a tool you can use to double-check the end of your sentences:
Sub CheckSpaces()
    Call MakeChanges("Normal", ".")
    Call MakeChanges("Normal", "!")
    Call MakeChanges("Normal", ":")
End Sub
Sub MakeChanges(StyName As String, PuncMark As String)
    Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory
    Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
    Selection.Find.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles(StyName)
    Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
    With Selection.Find
        .Text = PuncMark & "   "
        .Replacement.Text = PuncMark & " "
        .Forward = True
        .Wrap = wdFindContinue
        .Format = True
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
    Selection.Find.Text = PuncMark & "  "
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub
CheckSpaces will only take extra spaces out of paragraphs formatted with the Normal style. This ensures you won't mess up formatting in tables or other design elements where you may want extra spaces after periods. If you want to change the type of punctuation searched for, or search in different style paragraphs, add additional calls to MakeChanges after the fourth line in the macro.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (262) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Consistent Spacing.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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