Good space, bad space

White space is good for readers, except when it is not good for readers. White space is defined as “areas without text or graphic” and should be as minimal as necessary and evenly distributed throughout a page.

White space “lightens” the page and invites the reader to read. It gives the reader’s eye a place to rest, provides contrast, and draws attention to text or graphics.

Good space

  •  Between paragraphs
  • Between bullet points in a list
  • Around graphics
  • Around text in tables and spreadsheet

Bad space

  •  Space on either side of a slash
  • Space on either side of a hyphen
  • Space on either side of a dash
  • Space forced into a line because of full justification

I have noticed a lot of these “bad spaces” recently, and I don’t know why. The rules have been the same for years: no spaces on either side of slashes, dashes, or hyphens. Your reader’s eye is attracted to white space, even briefly. When there seems to be no purpose for the white space, it slows your reader down.

Don’t be spacey!

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