One Space or Two?

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Re: One Space or Two?

Postby Shyster on Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:08 pm

Lt. Dish wrote:Now, speaking for myself, I ask for 1" margins all around to force students to use the entire page, avoiding "white-space abuse." WSA aids in spreading out the text in an attempt to "meet" minimum page requirements and is epidemic.

I can understand that as an educator you are looking to enforce a minimum effort from your students, and the control of whitespace on written documents is certainly part of that. The problem is that once one gets past being a student, to quote Yoda, “you must unlearn what you have learned.” The generous use of whitespace actually adds to the legibility of documents by keeping line length in optimal ranges. When I write memos to my colleagues, for example, I use left and right margins of 1.75”. Does that leave a lot of the page blank? Sure, but it also makes the document more readable. Once you get past the point where a teacher will scold you for doing so, people should use more whitespace, not less.

The United States Supreme Court, for example, has very good requirements for typography in its rules, and the documents issued by the court are generally compliant with professional-typography principles. Here’s a random opinion released by the Court. Note the use of whitespace and the fact that the document is not double-spaced:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11 ... 84c1d3.pdf

Also, this document is printed in New Century Schoolbook. I know that because it’s the official typeface of the Court. They use it for everything. In fact, under the Court’s rules, the text of document submitted to the Court “shall be typeset in a Century family (e. g., Century Expanded, New Century Schoolbook, or Century Schoolbook) 12-point type with 2-point or more leading between lines.” The Justices demand good typography in their court filings.
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Re: One Space or Two?

Postby Lt. Dish on Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:44 pm

Shyster wrote:
Lt. Dish wrote:Now, speaking for myself, I ask for 1" margins all around to force students to use the entire page, avoiding "white-space abuse." WSA aids in spreading out the text in an attempt to "meet" minimum page requirements and is epidemic.

I can understand that as an educator you are looking to enforce a minimum effort from your students, and the control of whitespace on written documents is certainly part of that. The problem is that once one gets past being a student, to quote Yoda, “you must unlearn what you have learned.” The generous use of whitespace actually adds to the legibility of documents by keeping line length in optimal ranges. When I write memos to my colleagues, for example, I use left and right margins of 1.75”. Does that leave a lot of the page blank? Sure, but it also makes the document more readable. Once you get past the point where a teacher will scold you for doing so, people should use more whitespace, not less.

The United States Supreme Court, for example, has very good requirements for typography in its rules, and the documents issued by the court are generally compliant with professional-typography principles. Here’s a random opinion released by the Court. Note the use of whitespace and the fact that the document is not double-spaced:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11 ... 84c1d3.pdf

Also, this document is printed in New Century Schoolbook. I know that because it’s the official typeface of the Court. They use it for everything. In fact, under the Court’s rules, the text of document submitted to the Court “shall be typeset in a Century family (e. g., Century Expanded, New Century Schoolbook, or Century Schoolbook) 12-point type with 2-point or more leading between lines.” The Justices demand good typography in their court filings.


Duly noted about "unlearning what you have learned," and it occurs to me that back in another lifetime, when I was in the corporate world, we used larger margins (around 1.5") for reports and other analyses. There wasn't a company or industry convention or anything, but it was common. So, I must have unlearned stuff and adopted a "stylistically relavistic" bent, because back in education, I reverted right back.Trained seals!

You know, the document you posted here does look really clean and is easy on the eyes. A funny thing to note is that, when you submit your manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal, they ask for it in APA format (usually, depends on the journal), but then they'll typeset it the way they want. I can think of a couple of journals off the top of my head that use very wide margins for the finished, published product--perhaps for the reasons you outline.

One-inch margins! Century family! Rules! There are so many rules! Essential, critical rules! How can we keep them straight? :lol:

I've seriously found this conversation quite illuminating. I love learning new stuff everyday. :D
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Re: One Space or Two?

Postby IanMoran on Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:58 pm

Letang Is The Truth wrote:
TheHammer24 wrote:
columbia wrote:Two spaces is only for people, who desperately need to ramp up their page count for a paper.

Adding an additional space wouldn't even increase your page length one line.


i once changed all my periods to 18 point font on a 25 page neurophysiology paper in college and it added over 3 pages and you couldnt even notice

wow, 18 pt is bold. I just changed ALL punctuation to 13-14. Looked identical and added so much in a long paper
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Re: One Space or Two?

Postby columbia on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:00 pm

I find Verdana to be the only legible electronic font, for long-form reading/writing.
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Re: One Space or Two?

Postby mikey287 on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:09 pm

IanMoran wrote:
Letang Is The Truth wrote:
TheHammer24 wrote:
columbia wrote:Two spaces is only for people, who desperately need to ramp up their page count for a paper.

Adding an additional space wouldn't even increase your page length one line.


i once changed all my periods to 18 point font on a 25 page neurophysiology paper in college and it added over 3 pages and you couldnt even notice

wow, 18 pt is bold. I just changed ALL punctuation to 13-14. Looked identical and added so much in a long paper


The secret for me was character scaling and spacing. I'd always push for 103 or 105% scaling and spacing and get away with it.
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Re: One Space or Two?

Postby Shyster on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:09 pm

Lt. Dish wrote:You know, the document you posted here does look really clean and is easy on the eyes. A funny thing to note is that, when you submit your manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal, they ask for it in APA format (usually, depends on the journal), but then they'll typeset it the way they want. I can think of a couple of journals off the top of my head that use very wide margins for the finished, published product--perhaps for the reasons you outline.

Or they use multiple columns. Generally speaking, the only publications that come close in page size to the 8.5×11" standard size of paper are magazines. I bet none of us have ever read a magazine that stretches a single line of text from margin to margin. Instead, they use multiple columns per page to keep the line length in the range of optimal readability. For example, an issue of The Pennsylvania Lawyer sitting in my office uses three columns per page, and each column of text is only about 2.25" wide. I can’t use multiple columns in court-filed documents, but I will use that format when writing other documents.

Incidentally, the 8.5×11" size of paper seems to come from the fact that it was 1/4 of the size of sheets of paper that paper makers used to produce in the 18th and 19th centuries. It ended up turned into a standard size in the 1920s and 30s. See this link:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea ... aper-sizes
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