Change sentence space after fullstop/period in Word

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Word can check if you use a single or double space after a sentence (fullstop/period) but how can it be changed throughout a document?  Make all sentences end with a single space instead of double spaces, triple or more.

The Sentence Spacing settings (single, double or don’t care) is in Word’s Grammar settings see Sentence Spacing in Word.

Right-click on a dotted line to see the correction and fix the sentence spacing, one at a time.

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That’s not practical for a whole document, instead turn to the Replace command.

Changing single spacing after sentences to double space is a little more tricky, but still possible. Change single space after sentence to double space in Word

Double-spacing to Single Spacing

Search for: .^w^w  fullstop/period followed by two spaces  –

^w is a special search term to find any ‘white space’ character.  Either type ^w or go to More | Special and choose White Space.

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Replace with: .  fullstop/period followed by one space

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Don’t forget ! and ? ending sentences

Often overlooked are other sentence enders; question mark ? and exclamation !  possibly others in different languages.

The easy way to fix these is repeating the search twice more, exchanging the period/fullstop for the other punctuation.

  • Search for Question Mark followed by two spaces – ?^w^w
  • Replace with Question Mark followed by one space –

 

  • Search for Exclamation Mark followed by two spaces – !^w^w
  • Replace with Exclamation Mark followed by one space –

The ‘Use Wildcards’ option

Check the ‘Use Wildcards’ box for more complex searches which cover the three sentence enders.

Search for:  ([.\?\!])    – ([.\?\!]), space, space

? and ! have special meaning in wildcards/regular expressions. To use either as a regular character prefix with a \  eg  \?  Or \!

Replace with:  \1   – \1, space

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Triple sentence spaces or more

What if someone has gone crazy adding three or more spaces after sentences? There are two ways to handle this.

Repeat the ‘double to single’ search above but check for three spaces  .^w^w^w . If necessary, repeat for four and five spaces too.

The alternative is to Use Wildcards with Find.

Search for:  . @([0-9A-z])   – fullstop, space, @ then ([0-9A-z])

The @ in a wildcard search means to find any number of occurrences of the previous character (a space).

Replace with:  . \1 –  fullstop/period followed by one space then \1


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