Before I was a screenwriter, I worked in graphic design, with a font collection that was the envy of my dorm floor. So it’s life’s cruel joke that I now make my living in 12-pt. Courier.

Modern typefaces are designed to look best with a single space after the period which ends a sentence. (Or the full stop, for the British in the room.) Courier, however, is not such a typeface. As a monospace font, it looks best with two spaces after the period.

When writing a script, it’s pretty easy to type two spaces sometimes, one space other times. Before printing the “final” draft, you could scroll through the whole document, looking for periods with only one space. But it’s much easier to use Find and Replace.

This trick works in pretty much any word processor, including both Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter.

Converting to two spaces

  1. Choose “Find…”
  2. In the Find field, type . followed by two spaces.
  3. In the Replace field, type . followed one space.
  4. Click Replace All. You should get a dialog box that shows a large number of changes. Yes, you’ve just made every sentence wrong. What’s important is that they’re all wrong in exactly the same way.
  5. Back in the Find field, type . followed one space.
  6. In the Replace field, type . followed by two spaces.
  7. Click Replace All.
  8. Look through the script. You should have two spaces after every period. However, you may find that you also have two spaces in case where you shouldn’t (like after “Mr.” or “Dr.”).
  9. If so, Find “Mr.” followed by two spaces, and Replace with “Mr.” followed by one space.
  10. Repeat as needed with “Dr.” or “Mrs.”

In my opinion, Courier looks best with two spaces after the colon as well. The same technique works.

In programs that allow it, a technically-savvy wordsmith could use regular expressions to do all of this in one step, matching the period only in cases where it is followed by exactly one space. But considering this whole process generally takes less than 20 seconds, I’m not sure it’s worth it.

If you find yourself writing a letter or some other document in a non-Courier font, you may want to do just the opposite, converting two spaces to one. That’s a lot easier.

Converting to one space

  1. Choose “Find…”
  2. In the Find field, type . followed by two spaces.
  3. In the Replace field, type . followed by one space.
  4. Click Replace All.
  5. Keep clicking Replace All until there are no more replacements. (It may take a few times through.)
  6. Look through the script. You should have one space after every period.