To double space or single space?

To double space or single space

Raise your hand if you ever took a typing class in school. <Me: raises hand.> If you’re of a certain generation, Gen X or older, it’s quite likely taking a typing class was part of your high school graduation requirements. The answer to the question of whether to double space or single space is a nagging one. I recently asked on social media if my friends were single or double spacers and was a bit surprised at the answers.

Truth be told, I was shamed into becoming a single spacer. 

My need to double space came from my time in school writing papers on an electric typewriter. Because of the spacing, we were taught to use a double space. While a seeming simple change, double vs. single still causes controversy to this day.

Controversial because it was pounded into us that we needed to hit the spacebar twice between sentences, losing points for careless single spacing. Up until 2005, I was in the corporate world using a computer and slamming the space bar so hard I needed a new keyboard every quarter.

Then a lovely young editor pointed out that while she loved my writing, she hated editing my double-spaced work. That’s when I was shamed into my journey to not only single space but to save the company in new keyboards.

In the legal world, there are two schools on this issue.

Some attorneys will tell me that double spacing is what they’ve always done and will continue to do. It’s the way they learned and they’re not changing. Others still feel the wrath of typing teachers from their past and simply can’t live the single (spacing) lifestyle. An attorney friend of mine said that her firm’s standard is double spacing. Then she reminded me of our typing teacher from high school and almost shamed me into living the double (spacing) lifestyle again!

There are a few who have embraced the single spacing lifestyle but I haven’t found many.

Seriously, I wondered how I had been so easily shamed into single spacing when what feels like the rest of my generation is still slamming the spacebar twice.

If you’re a Phoenix court reporter or attorney wondering what to do, I recommend asking your peers or reviewing the standards for your firm. There’s no right answer to double space or single space, no matter how hard the younger generation pushes us into single (spacing) life.

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