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Evan's avatar

Why doen't the "enter button" actually create a space?

Asked by Evan (810points) June 26th, 2007

so.. why is it that the "enter" button doesn't create a space between paragraph breaks even when you hit "enter" twice so as to establish said space? I've had this problem before when coding.. is it a coding issue, or a conscious decision?

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9 Answers

andrew's avatar

How do you mean, Evan?

There's a paragraph space right there.

samkusnetz's avatar

general style rules dictate that the space between paragraphs should be equal to the space between lines within a paragraph. so hitting return should cause the insertion point to advance one line only. so the answer is: the enter button [sic... should be return button] doesn't create space between paragraphs because it's not supposed to. if you want extra space between paragraphs, hit return twice.

(you asked about the "enter" key, but apple is the only computer manufacturer who actually understands the difference between "return" and "enter" i presumed you meant "return". return is a holdover from typewriters and is short for "carriage return" which you used to do manually with a big lever... return the carriage to the beginning of the line. then electric typewriters did it for you with the return button, and then computers had return buttons for folks who were accustomed to typewriters. but "enter" is really not a typing button, it's a computer-only button. when you're typing text on your computer, you never really use the "enter" button, you use the "return" button. on most computers, they're the same button.)

sergeantedward's avatar

Samkusnetz: "general style rules dictate that the space between paragraphs should be equal to the space between lines within a paragraph."

What "general style rules" might you be referring to?

Evan: are you asking about coding such as HTML? If you are, wrap your paragraphs in < P > tags or use line breaks < br >.

samkusnetz's avatar

@seargentedward = i don't have a good source on that, but look in a book! i just grabbed a few off my shelf and they all have equal spacing between lines and between paragraphs.

but here's a little article about carriage returns and the difference between return on a typewriter and return on a computer:

andrew's avatar

Here's a great article about vertical space, specifically in web-design:

Evan's avatar

hey so great answers everyone, but I think I phrased the question poorly. I understand the enter v. return thing too, btw, but actively choose to ignore it. there's no longer any real need for a distinction, in my opinion, so why choose to perpetuate it?

but what meant was that it seemed to me like fluther was ignoring the second space between paragraphs. i think i'll choose to believe that it really was doing that, and only afterwards did it get fixed. :-)

sergeantedward's avatar

Samkusnetz / Andrew: I think the misunderstanding is that Samkusnetz stated that the space between paragraphs and individual lines be equal. If this were the case, then you couldn't tell the difference between a paragraph and a new line! They are to be proportionate, aye, but not equal. I may not be quite getting the gist of that first statement.

samkusnetz's avatar

the way you tell the difference between a a paragraph an a new line is by the indent that is commonly used at the beginning of a paragraph. go, look in a book. equal space between lines is the more common layout.

sergeantedward's avatar

Samkusnetz: in book printing only. Not in magazine, booklet, web, digital printing.

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