How to Remove Extra Spaces Between Paragraphs & Sentences

Fingers on the Delete key on keyboard

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Different organizations use different stylebooks to set rules about spelling, grammar, word usage, and punctuation. Some use two spaces after a period — as was common before computer word processing — and others use a single space. To narrow from a double-spaced to a single-spaced document, use a search-and-replace algorithm.

How to Replace a Double Space with a Single Space

In the program in which you're working, press the Search and Replace hotkey or its equivalent. Search for two spaces and set it to replace with a single space.

Run this procedure several times, until your program advises you that no more occurrences of a double-spaced character set were found. In some situations, a manuscript may include quite a few superfluous spaces; repeating this procedure until it returns no more results clears it up across the board.

Different programs use different procedures to activate this feature:

  • Microsoft Word: Press Ctrl+H to access the find-and-replace tool.
  • Adobe InDesign: Press Ctrl+F while any text frame is active to open the Find/Replace box.
  • Adobe InCopy: Highlight text, then press Ctrl+F1 (Cmd+F1 on a Mac) to insert that text into the Find What box.
  • LibreOffice Writer: Press Ctrl+H to activate the Find & Replace function.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Code: Press Ctrl+Shift+F (Cmd+Shift+F on a Mac) to open the Search tool. To replace, click the down-arrow at the right of the Search box to reveal a box for replacement text. VS Code works on the currently open file or files, including if you opened a folder in the app.

How to Remove Extra Spaces in Web Pages

HTML Code
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Normally, extra spaces won't show up in web pages even if the HTML is typed with two or more spaces. However, if you've been given HTML-coded text that includes the non-breaking space character (which will show up as extra spaces on web pages) you'll need to remove those characters if you want to have only one space after periods and other punctuation. Use search-and-replace but you'll need to specify the non-breaking space character as the space to remove. Be careful, though. Non-breaking space characters may be used in other spaces where you do want the extra space.