NBSP supposed to stretch, right?

James Kass via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Thu Dec 19 02:28:48 CST 2019

 From our colleague’s web site,

“On web browsers, no-break spaces tended to be non-adjustable, but 
modern browsers generally stretch them on justification.”

Jukka Korpela then offers pointers about avoiding unwanted stretching.


“The change in the treatment of no-break spaces, though inconvenient, is 
consistent with changes in CSS specifications. For example, clause 7 
Spacing of CSS Text Module Level 3 (Editor’s Draft 24 Jan. 2019) defines 
the no-break space, but not the fixed-with spaces, as a word-separator 
character, stretchable on justification.”

So it appears that there’s no interoperability problem with HTML.

It seems that the widespread breakage which Asmus Freytag mentions is 
limited to legacy applications which persist in treating U+00A0 as the 
old “hard space” such as Word.  It also appears that Microsoft tried and 
failed to correct the problem in Word.  Perhaps they should try again.  
Meanwhile, in the absence of anything from Unicode more explicit than 
already recommended by the Standard, Shriramana Sharma might be well 
advised to continue to lobby the respective software people.  As more 
applications migrate towards the correct treatment of U+00A0, they are 
probably already running into interoperability problems with Microsoft 
Word and may well have already implemented solutions.

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