When most of us think of spaces, we think of pressing the spacebar and moving on. Did you know that FrameMaker supports additional spaces? Em, en, figure, thin and non-breaking spaces are all available if you just know how to ask for them. Unlike spacebar spaces, which are proportional to the characters around them and can expand and contract when you justify a paragraph, these five spaces are all fixed width spaces.
Here's a quick list for you:
Em space Esc spacebar m (or Control+Shift+ Spacebar)
An em space is typically the width of a capital letter M in any given typeface. In FrameMaker, if your type is set to 12 pts, the em space is 12 points wide. I use them when I want a big fat space and I don't feel like setting a tab. In the first image below, the run-in head is separated by a spacebar space. In the second image, it's an em space.
En space Esc spacebar n (or Control+Alt+Spacebar)
An en space is half the width of the M space in any given typeface. For example, in 12 point type, the en space is 6 pts wide. I use them when I want a fixed space and I don't feel like setting a tab.
In the image below, the run-in head is separated by an en space.
Thin space Esc spacebar t
The thin space in FrameMaker is 1/12th the width of an en space. Continuing with the example of 12 point type, the thin space would be 1 point wide. My personal preference is to space out my em dashes with thin spaces on both sides. The first image below shows em dashes without any spacing around them, the second image shows thin spaces on either side.
Figure space Esc spacebar 1 (one)
The figure space is the width of the number zero in any given typeface. This one is really handy for scooting the numbers in a table over so that the varying columns line up on the right hand side, when I don't feel like setting a tab. In both images, the numbers all have a center alignment. In the first image, the first two cells have fewer digits than the rest, and the center alignment is apparent. In the second image, I inserted a figure space at the beginning of the first two cells, and everything lines up perfectly.
Non-breaking space Esc spacebar h (or Control +space)
A non-breaking space is used to keep two words from breaking across lines. In the first image, the number 6 is all alone on the line. In the second image, a non-breaking space was added between May and the number 6, so now they both move to the next line together.
If you are new to FrameMaker and want to get up to speed quickly, join IconLogic's instructor-led, online Introduction to Adobe FrameMaker 9 class. Too elementary for your skill level? How about the Advanced FrameMaker 9 class? Hope to "see" you there.
About the author: Barbara Binder is the president and founder of Rocky Mountain Training. Barbara has been a trainer for nearly two decades and has been recognized by Adobe as one of the top trainers world-wide.