Word 2008: Annoying Invisible Character

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by glittle, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. glittle macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    #1
    I'll be honest, I'm OCD. So when I click the "show invisible characters" button in Word in order to make sure all of my formatting is the way I want and I see these weirdo symbols where spaces should be, I get a mental itch that will not go away until I'm sure there are none in my entire document.

    I'm running Mac OS X Version 10.6.6 and Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac Version 12.2.6.

    Attached is a screenshot of these little buggers.

    1) What are these?
    2) Why do they appear?
    3) How can I prevent them from appearing?
    4) How can I perform a "Find & Replace" for this character with a space character?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #2
    Two things:

    1) If they're invisible, why are you in any way bothered about them? Really?

    2) They're non-breaking spaces -- that is, they're the same as normal spaces, but they don't allow a line-end to break the space between words where they occur. In practical terms, this means that the #1 will never drop onto a separate line to Federalist, which would seem like a desirable thing to me…

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  3. glittle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    #3
    Thanks for your response, Jim.

    1) As I said, I have OCD with this type of stuff. There are 2 here (which, as you've suggested, would be equivalent to 2 spaces) but Word didn't tell me there was a 2-spaced width between 't' and '#'. I would like to be notified of 2-spaced widths since I abide by the convention of 1-space between my words.

    2) Thanks for letting me know, I had no idea that these are 'non-breaking spaces' or what they do.

    3) It is not desirable to me if Word doesn't ask me whether I want this feature to work automatically or not.

    4) Does Word provide an option to automatically apply non-breaking spaces where it sees fit? I'd like to disable it.

    5) How can I prevent non-breaking spaces from appearing in my document?

    6) What command would I have to type in the Find field to search for non-breaking spaces in my document?

    Thanks again,
    Geoff
     
  4. nastebu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    #4
    Glittle, you are *very* OCD.

    1.) Making sure there is only one space between words is a good practice. You can take care of this by running a find/replace which replaces 2 spaces with one. That will take out doubled non-breaking spaces as well as doubled regular spaces.

    4.) my related question, does Word have an option to *insert* non-breaking spaces without user intervention? I've never seen it done. I'm very curious as to how that got into your document.

    5.) are you sure you want to prevent them? As Jim pointed out, this is a case where you really don't want the line breaking between those characters. If you're getting non-breaking spaces in random spots, that might be an issue. But if you're getting them in places that improve the document formatting, I'd say embrace them.

    6.) In the "find and repace" drop down list, there's a "non-breaking space" option. You could just choose that and then replace it with a normal space.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    It's really quite simple:
    ScreenCap 10.png
     
  6. glittle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    #6
    naste and GGJ, thanks so much! I know it seems small, but these non-breaking spaces HAVE been appearing in my documents in seemingly random places. It's been really obnoxious.

    You've satisfied my OCD itch: thanks again for your help.

    Geoff
     
  7. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #7
    I don't think it is random. It doesn't seem coincidental to me that the example you've shown comes before a special character. # is ALT-3 on my keyboard, but my (ancient) version of Word also inserts a non-breaking space from ALT-SPACE. I'm wondering whether your fingers go to the ALT key at the end of "Federalist", in anticipation of hitting ALT-3 but also resulting in an ALT-SPACE, which is non-breaking.

    Cheers!

    Jim
     

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