Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool – Documentation

Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool icon Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool helps you create great-looking documents by fixing various spacing, punctuation and typography issues. It removes excessive spaces, inserts missing spaces, uses non-breaking spaces to keep text on the same line for readability, and uses typographically correct symbols where necessary.

Detailed information about Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool

How Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool can help you in your work

  • Remove excessive spaces from the document: quickly correct multiple spaces used instead of one space, spaces before certain punctuation symbols like exclamation sign, spaces after certain punctuation symbols like the closing parenthesis ), spaces at the beginning and end of paragraphs and lines.
  • Insert missing spaces: space before certain punctuation like the opening parenthesis (, space after certain punctuation like the closing parenthesis ) or exclamation sign !, space around slash /, etc.
  • Improve readability by using non-breaking spaces instead of normal spaces in order to keep text on the same line: non-breaking space before units-of-measurement which occur after numbers (e.g. “10 m2”), non-breaking space after certain words which occur before numbers (e.g. “Table 5”), non-breaking spaces in the middle of phrases (e.g. “The New York Times”), non-breaking spaces before and after certain words, e.g. prepositions, and in some other common cases.
  • Use typographically correct symbols where required. For example, the degree sign is often denoted as an uppercase zero (0) instead of the correct degree sign (°); the multiplication sign is denoted using letter “x” instead of the correct ×; three dots (...) are used instead of the ellipsis symbol (…).
  • Use custom settings to correct specific issues only, using correction rule profiles. For example, you can create an ad-hoc profile to correct excessive spaces only and deactivate all the other rules.
  • Specify the document language in order to apply the rules that are specific to this language and exclude irrelevant rules.

Where to find the tool

To run Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool, click Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool button on TransTools+ ribbon:

Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool button on TransTools+ ribbon

This will open Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool to the right of the current document:

Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool panel

Using Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool

Managing correction rule profiles

To search the current document for potential issues, Spacing, Punctuation and Symbol Correction Tool uses profiles. Inside each profile, you can activate and deactivate correction rules and edit the phrase lists related to a certain rule, e.g. the list of units of measurement that should stick to the preceding number by means of a non-breaking space.

To change existing profiles, click Manage… button next to the profile selection list on the tool’s panel. Optionally, you can click Change options of selected profile… button at the bottom of the panel to achieve the same results. This opens the Profile Manager dialogue:

Profile Manager dialogue

The Profile Manager contains two tabs:

  • Global rules: these rules are more or less universal and relevant for most languages.
  • Language-specific rules: these rules are relevant for certain languages only.

For the descriptions of each rule, see the next section.

In order to apply a specific rule during document checking, you must make sure that it is active, i.e. its checkbox is ticked:
Sample rule in profile manager

Some rules have additional settings:

  • Some rules, e.g. “Remove spaces before certain punctuation” (see above), require a list of punctuation symbols typed one after the other.
  • Some rules, e.g. “Glue certain words/phrases to preceding number”, use a list of phrases:

    Rule phrase editor

    To add a new word/phrase, click Add button and specify the text and other settings in the pop-up dialogue:

    Adding a phrase to the rule phrase list

    By default, a word/phrase is case-insensitive, i.e. “m2” with Case-sensitive setting set to “No” will be found in “10 M2” or in “10 m2”. Also, the language is not specified by default (“<Any>” is selected in the language list). If you specify a language in the phrase settings, this phrase will be considered only if the document language is not selected in the tool panel before checking the document or if the selected document language equals the language of the phrase. See below for more information about this.
    You can use * (asterisk) instead of a series of letters if the word has different inflections, e.g. “Table*” will stand for “Table” or “Tables”. An asterisk can also be used in the middle of a word if necessary.
    To add several words/phrases at once, click a special link at the top of this dialogue and then enter the words/phrases, separating them with line breaks. You can also paste them from the clipboard. All the words/phrases will be added to the list with the same case-sensitivity and language settings.
    To remove words/phrases, select them in the list and click Remove button.
    To edit a word/phrase, edit its settings in the table just as you would edit a table in Microsoft Word or Excel.

You can hover the mouse over the question mark icon (Help icon) next to a rule in order to see additional information about it.

Initially, you will only see a single profile called [Default profile] in this dialogue. This profile cannot be removed and contains recommended correction settings.

To create your own profile, click Add button to create a new profile based on the Default profile, or select a profile in the list and click Duplicate… button to create a copy of the selected profile with a different name.

To rename an existing profile, select a profile from the list and click Rename… button in the top right corner of the dialogue. The Default profile cannot be renamed.

If you wish to copy specific rule settings from one profile to another one, click Copy data between profiles… button. This will open Copy Data Between Profiles dialogue:

Copy Data Between Profiles dialogue

At this time, you can only use this dialogue to copy words/phrases related to specific rules. To do this, select the source profile (from which you want to copy) and the target profile (to which you want to copy), select the list which contains words/phrases you want to copy, select specific words/phrases from the list on the left side, and click Copy selected phrases to target profile button to copy them to the list on the right side. To make it easier to select multiple phrases:

  • hold the Ctrl key on the keyboard while left-clicking phrases,
  • select a range of phrases: start by selecting the first phrase, then scroll up or down to the last phrase, hold the Shift key and left-click this last phrase.

You can also remove words/phrases from the target profile, but only if these words/phrases were previously copied from the source profile using this dialogue. Words/phrases that previously existed in the target profile will remain in the list. You can tell “old” words/phrases from “new” ones by their background color: the new words/phrases that you just copied from the Source profile will have a light yellow background color.

Click Save changes button to finish copying words/phrases between profiles.

Your custom profiles as well as changes to the Default profile are stored in individual files inside a special folder: C:\Users\your_user_name\AppData\Roaming\TransTools+\Symbolizer Profiles .
Use this folder if you need to back up the tool settings or copy them to another computer. If you are a power user, you can also modify profile settings using these files.

Description of available correction rules

Correction rule types

As specified above, there are two types of rules: global rules and language-specific rules. There is some special difference between these rules that you must be aware of:

  • An active global rule will always be applied during document checking.
  • An active language-specific rule will be applied only if the language of the document (which you select in the tool panel) is equal to the language of the rule or if the document language is not selected. E.g., the rule called “Russian – Use № instead of # before numbers” will only be applied if you do not select the document language or if you select “Russian” as the document language. It will not be applied if you select “English” as the document language. Also, if a language-specific rule is for a specific locale (country), e.g. “French (France)”, it will not be applied if you specify a different locale, e.g. “French (Canada)” as the document language.

If you are unsure whether a specific rule will be applied, check the list of applied correction rules on the tool panel:

Previewing which correction rules will be applied

For example, if “English – Glue day and month name in dates” rule is activated, and “English (Australia)” is selected as the document language, the rule will apply:
English rule to be applied for English (Australia)

Correction rule phrase lists

Some correction rules, e.g. “Glue certain words/phrases (usually units of measurement) to preceding number”, have associated phrase lists. The phrases in these lists have a parameter called “Language” which allows you to specify what document language this particular phrase should be used for. This parameter works just like the language of language-specific rules explained above:

  • If you do not select the document language in the tool panel (i.e., the language selection list shows “<Any>”), all phrases will be applied irrespective of their language.
  • If you select a specific document language in the tool panel, the tool will check the Language parameter of the phrase and only apply this phrase if its language is the same as the selected document language or if it is more/less specific than the selected document language.
    For example:
    a) “English (U.S.)” is more specific than “English”, so the phrase with this language will be applied if the selected document language is “English”.
    b) “English” is less specific than “English (U.S.)”, so the phrase with this language will be applied if the selected document language is “English (U.S.)”.
    Let’s consider a concrete example. If the phrase is “bcma” (billion cubic meters per annum) and its Language is “English”, the phrase will not be applied if the selected document language is “French”, but it will be applied if the selected document language is “English” or “English (U.S.)”.

Detailed information about each correction rule

Global rules

Replace excessive spaces – the rules in this section allow you to remove redundant spaces:

  • Indent first line of paragraphs that start with spaces and remove the spaces – this rule allows you to remove spaces at the beginning of paragraphs and indent the first line of the paragraph by the same visual distance. If you activate this rule and check the document, the tool will propose to remove the spaces and indent the first line by default, but you can change this setting as will be explained later. This rule is deactivated by default.
  • Remove spaces at start and end of paragraphs and lines – this rule finds and removes spaces at the beginning and end of each paragraph or line. Spaces at the beginning or end of a line are spaces that follow or precede a line break inside a paragraph. If you activate this rule, the tool will propose to remove spaces, but you can change this correction option if necessary. This rule is activated by default.
  • Remove spaces before certain punctuation – this rule finds and removes spaces which occur before the symbols you specify. By default, these symbols are the closing parenthesis ), the closing square bracket ], comma (,), dot / period (.), question mark (?), exclamation mark (!), semicolon (;), colon (:), closing guillemet (») and horizontal ellipsis (). The symbols must be listed without any separators or spaces between them. This rule is activated by default.
  • Remove spaces after certain punctuation – this rule finds and removes spaces which occur after the symbols you specify. By default, these symbols are the opening parenthesis (, the opening square bracket [, inverted exclamation mark (¡), inverted question mark (¿) and opening guillemet («). The symbols must be listed without any separators or spaces between them. This rule is activated by default.

Insert missing spaces – the rules in this section allow you to insert missing spaces:

  • Insert missing spaces after end-of-sentence punctuation – this rule allows you to insert a missing space after the following punctuation symbols: comma (,), exclamation mark (!), question mark (?), semicolon (;), colon (:), dot / period (.) and horizontal ellipsis (). It will skip such issues in URLs, file paths and email addresses, and in some other cases. This rule is activated by default.
  • Insert missing space before ( and [ – this rule finds and inserts a missing space after opening parenthesis and square bracket. It will skip such issues in URLs, file paths and email addresses, and in some other cases. This rule is activated by default.
  • Insert missing space after) and ] – this rule finds and inserts a missing space before closing parenthesis and square bracket. It will skip such issues in URLs, file paths and email addresses, and in some other cases. This rule is activated by default.
  • Insert missing spaces around / between words – this rule checks whether there are missing spaces on both sides of a slash (/) and adds them if necessary. This rule is deactivated by default.

Check the use of non-breaking spaces – the rules in this section allow you to create great-looking documents by keeping certain text on the same line by means of a non-breaking space. This improves readability and is one of the laws of good typography.

  • Glue certain words/phrases (usually units of measurement) to preceding number – this rule finds certain words/phrases, most often units-of-measurement like “m2” or “ft”, after numbers, and replaces the existing space(s) with a non-breaking space or inserts a non-breaking space if a space is missing. To change the words/phrases, use the phrase editor under the checkbox, or copy words/phrases from a different profile using Copy data between profiles… button. This rule is activated by default.
    Examples:
    10 mln. people
    8 Gb of RAM
  • Glue certain words/phrases to following number – this rule finds certain words/phrases like “Fig.” or “Table” before numbers, and replaces the existing space(s) with a non-breaking space. In some cases, it will also insert a non-breaking space if there is no space, e.g. “Fig.2” (without space) will be corrected to “Fig. 2” (with a non-breaking space). To change the words/phrases, use the phrase editor under the checkbox, or copy words/phrases from a different profile using Copy data between profiles… button. This rule is activated by default.
    Examples:
    Appendix 1
    ГОСТ 20295 (Russian)
    стр. 12 (Russian)
  • Glue certain words/phrases (usually short prepositions) to following words – this rule finds specific words/phrases before any words, including numbers, and inserts a non-breaking space between them. This rule is mostly intended for short prepositions or definite/indefinite article that should stay on the same line as the following word (e.g. “in”, “on”, “a”, “an”, “the” in English), but you can use this rule for other situations as well. To change the words/phrases, use the phrase editor under the checkbox, or copy words/phrases from a different profile using Copy data between profiles… button. This rule is deactivated by default.
    Examples:
    the Thames
    at home
  • Glue certain words to preceding words – this rule finds specific words/phrases after any words, and inserts a non-breaking space between them. This rule is mostly intended for short particles that should stay on the same line as the preceding word (e.g. “бы” in Russian), but you can use this rule for other situations as well. To change the words/phrases, use the phrase editor under the checkbox, or copy words/phrases from a different profile using Copy data between profiles… button. This rule is deactivated by default.
    Examples:
    знал бы (Russian)
    Ну же! (Russian)
  • Glue certain words/phrases to following name or title – this rule finds certain words/phrases before common names or titles, and replaces the existing space(s) with a non-breaking space. The following word is considered a common name or title if it starts with an uppercase letter with an optional quotation mark before it. In some cases, this rule will also insert a non-breaking space if there is no space before the following word, e.g. “г.Волгоград” (without space) will be corrected to “г. Волгоград” (with a non-breaking space). To change the words/phrases, use the phrase editor under the checkbox, or copy words/phrases from a different profile using Copy data between profiles… button. This rule is activated by default.
    Examples:
    Mr. Smith
    р. Обь (Russian)
    ООО «Рога и копыта» (Russian)
  • Glue certain words/phrases together to keep them on the same line – this rule finds specific phrases and replaces existing spaces with non-breaking spaces in order to keep the whole phrase on the same line. To change the words/phrases, use the phrase editor under the checkbox, or copy words/phrases from a different profile using Copy data between profiles… button. This rule is deactivated by default.
    Examples:
    Windows 7
    The New York Times
  • Replace a phrase with another phrase that uses non-breaking spaces instead of regular spaces – this rule finds specific phrases and replaces them with an alternative phrase that uses non-breaking spaces, thus putting the entire phrase on the same line. This rule is necessary when the existing spelling is incorrect and you want to change the spelling, e.g. “P.S.” (without a space) should be written as “P. S.” (with a non-breaking space). To change the words/phrases, use the phrase editor under the checkbox, or copy words/phrases from a different profile using Copy data between profiles… button. This rule is deactivated by default.
    Examples:
    P. S. I love you. (instead of “P.S.”)
    В 1030 г. н. э. (instead of “н.э.”) (Russian)

Typographically correct symbols – the rules in this section allow you to replace specific symbols or text with typographically correct Unicode symbols that are designed for these specific scenarios.

  • Replace incorrect degree sign before C and F after numbers – this rule allows you to find an incorrect degree symbol and replace it with the correct degree sign (°). Quite often, people write the degree sign as “0” (superscript zero), “o” (superscript letter O) or even as “o” (letter O without superscripting). If “°C” or “°F” is added to the phrase list for Glue certain words/phrases to preceding number rule and this rule is activated, a non-breaking space will also be inserted before the degree sign. This rule also checks for commonly confused letters (Cyrillic “о” and Cyrillic “С”). This rule is activated by default.
    Examples:
    100C -> 10°C (superscript zero)
    32оF -> 32°F (Cyrillic letter O)
    10oC -> 10°C (superscript Latin letter O)
  • Use × instead of x between numbers and some words – this rule allows you to replace letter “x” with a multiplication sign (×) if it occurs between numbers. If letter “x” occurs between letters, the rule finds this issue only if there is a space before and after “x”, and the issue is marked as uncertain. The rule also checks for commonly confused letters (Cyrillic “х”). This rule is activated by default.
    Examples:
    10×5=50
    z = x × y
  • Use instead of (TM) – this rule replaces “(TM)” with ™ symbol. This rule is activated by default.
  • Use ® instead of (R) – this rule replaces “(R)” with ® symbol. This rule is activated by default.
  • Use © instead of (c) – this rule replaces “(c)” with © symbol. This rule is activated by default.
  • Use ½, ¼, ¾ instead of 1/2, 1/4, 3/4 – this rule replaces text that denotes a simple fraction (1/2, 1/4, 3/4) with the equivalent Unicode symbol. This rule is activated by default.
  • Replace <= with when used with number – this rule replaces “<=” (less-than sign + equal sign) with “less-than or equal sign” (≤). This rule is activated by default.
  • Replace >= with when used with number – this rule replaces “>=” (greater-than sign + equal sign) with “greater-than or equal sign” (≥). This rule is activated by default.
  • Replace ... with horizontal ellipsis (…) – this rule replaces three dots with the horizontal ellipsis symbol. This rule is activated by default.

Language-specific rules

Language-specific rules in the Profile Manager
Language-specific rules in the Profile Manager

English – the rules in this section apply only if the document language is not selected in the tool panel or if you select any English language from the document language selection list in the tool panel.

  • Non-breaking spaces (English) – the rules in this section allow you to use non-breaking spaces to improve document readability.

    • Glue day and month name in dates: this rule finds English dates in the following long date formats – 1st January or January 1 – and inserts a non-breaking space between the month name and the day. This rule is activated by default.

Russian – the rules in this section apply only if the document language is not selected in the tool panel or if you select “Russian” from the document language selection list in the tool panel.

  • Non-breaking spaces (Russian) – the rules in this section allow you to use non-breaking spaces to improve document readability.

    • Glue day and month name in dates: this rule finds Russian dates in the long date format (e.g. “31 декабря”) and inserts a non-breaking space between the month name and the day. This rule is activated by default.
    • Glue year abbreviation to preceding date: this rule finds Russian dates in the short format (e.g. “10.11.2019”) followed by year abbreviation “г.” and inserts a non-breaking space before the year abbreviation. This rule is activated by default.
    • Glue year abbreviation to preceding year: this rule finds the year abbreviation “г.” used after the year number (e.g. “2020 г.”) and inserts a non-breaking space before the year abbreviation. This rule is activated by default.
    • Glue two initials and initials and last name: this rule finds text that resembles a person’s last name with initials (e.g. “А. С. Пушкин” or “Ю. Лермонтов”) and inserts a non-breaking space between two initials and between an initial and the last name. This rule is deactivated by default.
  • Typographically correct symbols (Russian) – the rules in this section allow you to replace specific symbols or text with typographically correct Unicode symbols.

    • Use № instead of # before numbers: this rule replaces # with № if it precedes a number. This rule is deactivated by default.

Finding and correcting issues in the current document

To check the document for potential issues, perform the following steps:

  • Select the scope of the checking operation: Entire document or Selection:
    Scope options
    If you select Entire document option, you can click Change… to specify which parts of the document need to be checked:
    Processing certain parts of the document
  • Select the required profile from the profile list.
  • Select the document language if necessary:
    Selecting the document language
    You can select more than one language if these languages are related or if there is a mix of languages in the document. You do not need to select all locales of a language (for example, “English (United Kingdom) + English (U.S.) + English (Canada)”) – simply select the main language (e.g. “English”).
    If you do not select the document language, all active rules with all associated settings will be applied during checking, so it is possible that some false hits will be found.
  • Check which rules will be applied using the summary box below. If necessary, click Change options of selected profile… button to activate/deactivate certain rules in the selected profile.
  • Click Check document… button to check the document.

After the document or selected text is fully checked, you will see the following message:

Report after the checking operation

The message indicates how many potential issues were found.

The message also indicates the number of issues that are currently hidden because they are mutually exclusive with another issue that is currently ticked in the list of correction candidates. For example, if the document contains “10  mln. people” with 2 spaces, and “mln.” is defined in the list of phrases for Glue certain words/phrases to preceding number rule, then there are 2 potential issues – excessive spaces (to be replaced with 1 space) and non-breaking space required between number and “mln.”. These issues are mutually exclusive: if you fix one of them, you cannot fix the second one. By default, the tool will prioritize the non-breaking space issue over the excessive space issue, so it will display only the non-breaking space issue in the list of found issues. The excessive space issue can be made visible only if you untick the non-breaking space issue:
Unhiding an issue by unticking the longer issue

When you close the message, you will see the list of potential issues that were found:

List of found issues

By default, the potential issues are displayed in the order in which they occur in the document. For convenience, you can also group the issues by type as follows:
List of potential issues grouped by type of issue

To do this, select Grouped by type from Match Appearance list. This will display a heading above each group of issues.

The list contains the following columns:

  • Correct? – whether this issue must be processed (i.e. corrected or highlighted depending on the options). By default, all found issues will be ticked initially, and you will have to untick the issues that need to be skipped. If you want to tick or untick multiple items, right-click the list and choose the appropriate action:
    Ticking and unticking multiple issues
  • Certainty – if the tool is uncertain that an issue should be corrected, it will display a question mark in this column:
    Uncertain issue
    In some cases uncertain items will also be unticked by default.
  • Found text – the text that requires correction (in bold font and with yellow background color) with its surrounding context.
    If you modify text in the document before correcting the issues, you may see the following text in this column:
    How a manually changed issue may appear in the list
    This means that the text of the issue was changed and the tool can no longer process this issue.
  • Change to – how to correct the issue. Some issues, e.g. Excessive Spaces, provide a number of options for correcting the issue. For example, you can replace multiple spaces with 1 space, 1 tab character (e.g. if multiple spaces are used to align text into columns), Line break, Paragraph break, or remove them completely. The suggested option will be selected in the dropdown list by default, but you can change it:
    Changing the default correction option for an issue
    Note that “[Keep unchanged]” option is equivalent to unticking the issue using the checkbox in Correct column.
  • New text – preview of the text after correction (in bold font and with yellow highlight color), with its surrounding context. If text is going to be deleted instead of being replaced, such text is shown as _.
  • Description – short description of the issue.

The list displays certain non-printing symbols in a special way: a regular space is displayed as a middle dot (·), a non-breaking space – as a degree sign (°), a tab – as a right-pointing arrow , a paragraph break – as , and a line break – as ¬.

When the list of potential issues has been displayed, go through it and untick the issues that do not need to be corrected.

Note: unticking an issue may display additional issues that were not previously shown because they are mutually exclusive with the unticked issue. You will need to review these issues for relevance as well. If Match Appearance is set to Normal, these issues will appear immediately below the unticked issue, but if the list if grouped by issue type, these issues will appear in their respective groups. Most of the time, these are Excessive Spaces issues, but they may be of other types.

You can process the ticked issues in one of two ways:

  • Correct them. To do this, make sure that “Correct checked items” is selected in the dropdown list below the list of issues. You can also indicate whether to apply color highlighting to the corrections. By default, confident corrections (i.e. issues without the question mark ? in the Certainty column) will not be highlighted, and uncertain corrections (i.e. issues with the question mark in the Certainty column) will be highlighted in Bright Green color.
    Correction / highlighting options
  • Highlight them in color. To do this, select “Highlight checked items” from the dropdown list below the list of issues and then select the highlight colors for confident and uncertain corrections as explained above.

Finally, click Correct checked items… or Highlight checked items… button (depending on the selected option) to complete the operation. You will see the following message:

Document correction report

The message will indicate how many issues that you checked (i.e. ticked) were processed, and how many issues were skipped because you selected “[Keep unchanged]” from the dropdown list of correction options in the Change To column.


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