Tag Archives for " character spacing "

13 Document Cleanup Clinic: The Case of the Stretched-Out Line

I love nice, neat, fully-justified text in documents (really, who doesn’t?). It’s one of the great advantages word processing has over the ancient typewriter. But it can introduce some problems into your documents when the spacing between words (or even within words) isn’t quite right. Calculating that extra spacing is apparently still a real challenge for Microsoft Word. Sometimes, however, we as users unwittingly introduce problems that make it even more of a challenge.

For instance, if you’ve been known to copy text from your old documents into your new ones, you’ve probably seen this happen:

What on earth is going on with that last line? You know there aren’t really a bunch of extra spaces between the words. What else could be causing this, though?

Before you resign yourself to setting all your paragraphs to be left-justified, let me show you a little tip that’ll save you the trouble.

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37 Fixing funky character spacing in justified text in Microsoft Word

I have a confession to make: I love the look of fully-justified text. It’s just so darn … neat. It’s got those nice, straight margins on both sides, not that ragged right margin that looks like it could have been typed on a Selectric.  It makes a document looks so much more polished.

Except when this happens:

Example of a character spacing problem

When I first saw this in my draft, I just thought I’d made a typo — inserted a space in the middle of the word “and.” But when I went back to the document, it looked like this on the screen:

How the same text looks on the screen

“Well, that’s weird,” I thought. “What on earth could be causing that?”

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