Whether you’ve come to Typesy to upgrade typing skills you learned long ago in school (yes, typing was once taught in school) or whether you’re a new typist who wants to start out on the right foot (or should that be “hand”?), you need to know that there’s more to learn than just the layout of the letters on the keyboard. To be an excellent touch typist, you’ll also need to learn the proper layout of sentences and paragraphs, especially if you’re doing transcription or dictation rather than typing out something that has already been formatted. And as you’ll know if you’re an “old school” typist – someone who learned to type on a typewriter – the rules of format and layout have changed with the use of computers. With a computer, you can create tables and complex formatting that would have been impossible (or would have taken a long, long time) on a typewriter. On the other hand, some rules have stayed the same; for example, we still capitalize the first letter of the first word of a sentence.
However, some rules have changed, and not everyone knows that. One of the most disputed rules of formatting is whether to use one or two spaces after a period. You need to have some space between sentences, otherwise the text is hard to read. But like other formatting issues, how you create this space has changed since the first days of typing. Here’s why you need to use one space after a period, and never two:
Now that most computers and typewriters use proportional fonts, the extra space for readability is created automatically. Typewriters used to only use monospaced fonts like Courier, which assign an equal space to each character no matter its actual width, and using two spaces made it much easier to see the end of a sentence. To test this out for yourself, copy this post into a document, select it all, and change the font to Courier. You’ll notice immediately that it becomes more difficult to read fluently.
Touch typing is all about speed, so why would you want to slow yourself down by making extra keystrokes? You decrease the keystrokes required in typing a sentence by only hitting the spacebar once instead of twice. That might not seem like a lot, but just think about how many sentences you type each day! It adds up quickly.
Finally, a single space after a period isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. Well, at least it’s the standard rule according to all major style guides like the Chicago Manual of Style and the requirements of the MLA and APA.
Learning how to touch type can be as easy as 1 – 2 – 3 if you keep in mind the tips and best practices you’ll find in the Typesy system and on this blog.