[EXTERNAL] Re: NBSP supposed to stretch, right?

Shriramana Sharma via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Fri Dec 20 20:43:58 CST 2019

On 12/21/19, Murray Sargent <murrays at exchange.microsoft.com> wrote:
> I checked with the Word team and they actually tried out stretching NBSP
> back in 2015 in the "good client" mode. But customer feedback was negative.
> The problem is that NBSP is used sometimes when stretching isn't wanted such
> as between the end of a question and the question mark or in multi-word
> trademarks or in italic expressions such as ad infinitum. Another example is
> Text    «    quotation    »    more    text. One doesn't want the « and » to
> be spaced apart from "quotation" for justification purposes.
> Conceivably Word should offer a special justification option to stretch
> NBSP, but user feedback has revealed that it's not a good default option.

Ohkay and that's very nice meaningful feedback from actual
developer+user interaction. So the way I look at this going forward is
that we have four options:


With the existing single NBSP character, provide a software option to
either make it flexible or inflexible, but this preference should be
stored as part of the document and not the application settings, else
shared documents would not preserve the layout intended by the


Consider that the non-stretching behaviour of wordprocessors (probably
following MS Word) is correct, and encode a new NBFSP non-breaking
flexible space. [I'm looking at that convenient hole at 2065.]

DTP software like InDesign/TeX (and browsers like Firefox, though web
content is assumed to be more fluid typographically) should then
ideally conform to this and potentially break their users' documents
(esp in the case of DTP).


Consider that the stretching behaviour of DTP software like InDesign
is correct, and encode a new FWNBSP fixed-width non-breaking space [at

Wordprocessors should then ideally conform to this and potentially
break their users' documents.


Leave alone the existing ambiguous behaviour of NBSP, and encode two
new characters [Supplemental Punctuation has space at 2E50…] for NBFSP
and FW-NBSP. Like the existing 2028 and 2029 Line and Paragraph
Separators with the annotation: “may be used to represent this
semantic unambiguously”.

Shriramana Sharma ஶ்ரீரமணஶர்மா श्रीरमणशर्मा ������������������������

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