Wrapping Spaces

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 22, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


1

Let's face it: some people like one space at the end of a sentence, and other people like two. (And some one-space people love to bash two-space people, and vice-versa—but that's another story.) Fortunately, Word is not a program that enforces a single space after sentences when you may want to use two. On the other hand, if the end of your sentence falls at the end of a line, one of your spaces may stay on the first line, and the second space may wrap to the second line. This can mess up the appearance of your page.

The first thing to do is to ensure that the extra space is really wrapping to the next line. If you have non-printing characters turned off (so they are not visible), it is very easy to mess up the formatting of a document. For instance, you may think you have two spaces at the end of a line, but you really have a single space, followed by a hard return, and then the new line starts out with a space. To check for this, just click on the Show/Hide tool on the toolbar (it looks like a backwards P) and see if a hard return is at the end of the line.

If there are no formatting problems, then you could obviously delete the extra space. However, there is one compatibility setting that could be causing a problem. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Make sure the Compatibility tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Compatibility tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Scroll to the end of the list of options.
  5. Make sure the Wrap Trailing Spaces to Next Line option is not selected.
  6. Click on OK.

In normal operations with Word, this setting should not become set. However, some users have noticed that it can become set when importing documents from another Word processor, such as WordPerfect. In either case, make sure the option is cleared, and the problem of the wrapping spaces should go away.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (656) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Strip Trailing Spaces

If you get tired of documents that always seem to have extra spaces at the end of lines, here's a quick way to get rid of ...

Discover More

Confirming File Conversions

Open a file that isn't a Word document and Word will still try to convert it to a Word document. If you want Word to let ...

Discover More

Enabling Macros for an E-mailed Workbook

When you send a macro-enabled workbook to someone, that person may have problems opening and using it. This tip looks at ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Hyperlinks Not Found

When creating hyperlinks in a document, it is important to remember the difference between absolute and relative ...

Discover More

Dealing with Run-On Sentences

A common task when editing documents is to break up run-on sentences. You can make this task a little easier by using the ...

Discover More

Creating New Windows

A great way to work on different parts of the same document at the same time is to create windows. These function as ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two more than 7?

2014-06-15 16:15:41

Lois Carney

Thank you. Not knowing how to handle this problem made me switch to using one space at end of sentences. But some clients demand two, so here's my question: If you edit a document that has been created with "wrap trailing spaces" deselected, will those spaces reappear if the sentence in the edited version no longer ends at the end of a line? In other words, are those trailing spaces actually deleted or just held back?


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.