Learn English – When is it appropriate to use non-breaking spaces


I started using non-breaking spaces (represented in the following examples by an underscore) between a number and a unit of measure (10_ft), and within a name (Dr._John_Smith). I like the "look" of using non-breaking spaces to prevent titles from wrapping, but I don't know if it's technically correct or not. Is there a hard rule for this, or it a matter of style? Are their other circumstances when non-breaking spaces are usual?

Just in case it's news to anyone: you can enter a non-breaking space with Ctrl-Shift-Space in Word and Outlook, and possibly other applications.

Best Answer

The usage of a non-breaking space is explained here and here:

  1. It is advisable to use a non-breaking space (also known as a hard space) to prevent the end-of-line displacement of elements that would be awkward at the beginning of a new line:
    • in expressions in which figures and abbreviations (or symbols) are separated by a space (e.g. 17 kg, AD 565, 2:50 pm);
    • between the date number and month name (e.g. 3 June or June 3);
    • in other places where breaking across lines might be disruptive to the reader, especially in infoboxes, such as £11 billion, June 2011, 5° 24′ 21.12″ N, Boeing 747, after the number in a numbered address (e.g. 123 Fake Street) and before Roman numerals at the end of phrases (e.g. World War II and Pope Benedict XVI).
  2. A hard space can be produced with the HTML code   instead of the space bar; 19 kg yields a non-breaking 19 kg.
  3. A literal hard space, such as one of the Unicode non-breaking space characters, should not be used since some web browsers will not load them properly when editing.
  4. Unlike normal spaces, multiple hard spaces are not compressed by browsers into a single space.
  5. A non-breaking space should be used before a spaced en dash.