If the nbspace glyph is important, why do I find many widely used and popular fonts that don't have it?

fontdesigner2's picture

I just opened several fonts in fontlab like Helvetica and Avant Garde Gothic, and can't find the nbspace glyph. I opened about a dozen more and struck out every time. I thought that was pretty strange. It seems like I'm the only font designer concerned with including it.

quadibloc's picture

If the character display and printing routines of an operating system require fonts to specify a glyph for a non-breaking space, this allows them to make it, say, a different width than a regular space. Since the only distinction between the two entities is supposed to be how they behave when breaking lines of text, these routines should instead "eat" the non-breaking space, and ask the font for a regular one.

However, that's just my personal opinion based on general principles. What font designers would really need to do is consult the OpenType standards (or TrueType standards, or whatever) to find out what they are required to do in order for their fonts to work properly on all applicable platforms.

I've found some threads with information about this:


A font with a nonexistent nbsp character will cause problems in the Opera browser, and


one with an nbsp character that's the wrong width will cause problems in InDesign.

Richard Fink's picture

>It seems like I'm the only font designer concerned with including it.

No, you're not. And keep doing it.

eigi's picture


In some fonts the unicode value 0x0020 (SPACE) and 0x00A0 (NO-BREAK SPACE) are assigned to the same glyph. 'uni00A0' is also a valid name for the none braking space.


hex codes in old style figures are looking curious ;-)

butterick's picture

The system fonts on your computer are not a useful reference for font mastering because many of them have not been touched by human hands in 10 or more years. Time passes. Software changes. Word 2007 and 2010, for instance, also require an nbspace character.

fontdesigner2's picture

Thanks to all who answered my question.

Syndicate content Syndicate content