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Find & Replace Excessive Spaces

Word
Category: Formatting / Document preparation Back to Formatting section

From time to time you may get a poorly formatted document with several contiguous spaces used instead of a single space, tab characters or line breaks, or unnecessary spaces at beginnings or ends of paragraphs or before / after certain punctuation. To make the document more suitable for translation, this command allows you to find such occurrences and replace them with one space, tab, another character, or delete them completely. It searches the document for the next sequence of spaces (as specified in the settings) and selects the first found sequence. You may then edit it manually, find the next sequence, or replace it.

When to use:

  • You would like to get better translation memory hits in your CAT tool. Extra spaces usually cause 1% or higher TM penalties in most CAT programs.
  • You would like a nicely formatted document before translation. Multiple spaces between sentences, series of spaces instead of tab characters or line breaks, etc. all affect the final look of the translated document. Keep in mind that some excessive will not be displayed in your CAT tool (e.g., when they occur at the beginning or end of a segment) so you will not be able to remove them during translation.

Options:

Screenshot: Find and Replace Excessive Spaces dialogue

  1. Find # or more spaces: the minimum number of contiguous spaces (including simple and non-breaking spaces) to be searched for. If a series of spaces with at least this many spaces is found, it will be selected or replaced.
    Note: starting with version 1.9.2 of TransTools for Word, this option will not influence the behaviour of Remove Spaces at Start/End of Paragraphs or Lines option covered below.
  2. Replace found spaces with: [Affects the functionality of Replace or Replace All only]. Select a character that will be used to replace the space sequence when you click [Replace] or [Replace All]. The default option is 1 space. Other options are also useful. For example, some document authors like to use a lot of spaces to align text into columns, so you can use [Tab] for such situations. Others use spaces to wrap text to a new line in table cells, so use [New line] or [Paragraph]. [Clear] option is useful when you need to delete a space sequence at the end of a paragraph.
  3. Outline replacements using 'Marching red ants' style : [Affects the functionality of Replace or Replace All only]. With this setting, you will be able to see all the replacements performed on the document. Also consider turning Track Changes on temporarily if you would like to revert to some old text.
  4. Warn if number of spaces equals or exceeds #: If this setting is enabled, the command will show a warning at the bottom of the dialogue if the number of spaces in a space sequence equals or exceeds a certain number. It will also stop a global replacement (i.e. if you clicked [Replace All]) so you can take appropriate action.
    It is highly recommended to enable this option, as some long space sequences may need to be replaced with [Tab] or [New line] characters.
  5. Remove spaces at start/end of paragraphs or lines: Enable this option to remove multiple spaces at the beginning and end of paragraphs and lines. When the command finds a sequence of such spaces with this option enabled, the Clear option is automatically selected as the Replace character.
    Note: starting with version 1.9.2 of TransTools for Word, this option will also find any number of spaces (including 1 space) regardless of the setting of Find # or More Spaces option above.
  6. Remove spaces before punctuation: When this option is enabled, the command will find 1 or more spaces which occur before the indicated symbols. Pressing Replace or Replace All buttons will remove all such spaces. The picklist next to the checkbox provides some common options for most languages, including a separate selection of punctuation for French.
  7. Remove spaces after punctuation: When this option is enabled, the command will find 1 or more spaces which occur after the indicated symbols. Pressing Replace or Replace All buttons will remove all such spaces. The picklist next to the checkbox provides some common options for most languages, including a separate selection of punctuation for French.
  8. Warning / notification area: You will see warnings and prompts here.

 

Click Go To Top link if you want to start searching from the very beginning of the document.

Click Replace to replace the currently selected space sequence with the chosen character. Use Replace All to make replacements from the current position to the very end of the document. Click Find Next to search for the next space sequence. It is highly recommended to use [Find Next] and [Replace] buttons instead of [Replace All] in order to confirm each replacement.

To exit the dialogue, click Close.

Developed by Stanislav Okhvat, 2007–2016

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