Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Non-breaking Spaces in Word/OpenOffice Writer

I use LaTeX primarily for all of my printed document preparation, but I have to teach people how to write in Word/OpenOffice Writer, and so it still is interesting to me to find out how to do new things.

I've wondered how to make non-breaking spaces (NBSP) in Word for a long time, but I didn't force myself to actually look it up until recently. Evidently, if you type
in Word, you generate a NBSP. This same combination works in OpenOffice Writer, but I think only Control+Space is needed.

A non-breaking space tells the Word Processor to never break lines at that spot. That is, a non-breaking space can never end or begin an automatically wrapped line. You should use NBSP's to prevent
  • periods at the end of lines that do not terminate sentences
  • numbers or bullet-like symbols at the beginning of lines that do not initiate list items
For example,
  • Replace "Mr. Jones" with "Mr.(NBSP)Jones"
  • Replace "Figure 2" with "Figure(NBSP)2"
  • Replace "Table 3.1" with "Table(NBSP)3.1"
  • Replace "Equation (5)" with "Equation(NBSP)(5)"
  • Replace "over there – in the hallway" with "over there(NBSP)– in the hallway"
That's how the big publishers do it. However, you never notice it because it's so subtle; when it's done right, you won't notice it at all.

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