Word: Change the spaces after a periodJanuary 23, 2009
Here was my problem as I described it to the Microsoft Office Discussion Group:
I have a long document that several authors have worked on. Some use two spaces after the period, some one. The corporate style is two (not my decision!), so I’m trying to figure out an easy way of finding ALL instances of only one space after a period and replacing it with two spaces. Sounds easy? Nope.
Problem is that each sentence following the space starts with a different letter. I want to be able to find “.<space>[A-Z]” and replace with “.<space><space>[A-Z]” where [A-Z] is any capital letter. The original letter must be replaced with itself.
I can do this one letter at a time (e.g. “.<space>A” replace with “.<space><space>A” but as I know there will be many documents like this, I’d like to know if there’s a simple way to automate the process, either using wildcards, special characters, or a macro.
Oh, and adding a minor complication to this — I don’t want to do a ‘Replace All’ as some legitimate periods are followed correctly by a single space (for example, in the list of References, or after “i.e.” or “e.g.”).
Does anyone have any idea as to how I can achieve this? I’m happy to click Replace for each instance found, but I really don’t want to set up 26 different find/replace sequences to hit all letters of the alphabet.
Within two hours I had two responses, both of which offered a different method to achieve what I wanted. I tested them and both solutions work well.
Try Find ‘period space space’ and replace with ‘period space’ to get them all the same, then find ‘period space’ and replace with ‘period space space’.
You can then search on ‘i.spacespace e.space space’ and replace with ‘i.e.space’. Do the same for e.g.
With the wildcard option set Find what to (.) ([A-Z]) and Replace with \1 \2
(NOTE: There are TWO spaces between \1 and \2.)
There are a few things to watch out for.
- If you have a list of references written like Smith, JA. 2010. two spaces will get added after the A. and the 2010. To avoid this, select only the sections of the document you want to check and don’t select your References list.
- If you have citations written like (Smith. 2010), two spaces will get added after Smith.
- Abbreviations with periods like e.g., i.e., and etc. will all get changed. You’ll need to run a separate find/replace to change them back.
Update 18 February 2009: I have now used Graham’s solution many times over — and it has saved me hours of work. It’s a winner!
Update 31 July 2009: Seems the latest APA Publication Manual is now recommending two spaces after a period, even in HTML pages (which will require the use of the non-breaking space [ ]). Some details here: http://spacewaste.wordpress.com/