Option-Space Keyboard Combination

Continuing the discussion from KM launching Alfred:

I’d never heard of this before. In what situations would I use it? I mean, I understand the html   (which, by the way, works in Markdown also, which is kind of cool).

That’s exactly the same thing.   (or  ) is the HTML entity for U+00A0, aka No-break Space.

When you press ⌥ Space you just enter that character directly (without referencing it as HTML entity). Since HTML4 and 5 both understand UTF-8 there isn’t really much need to use the entity (except inside of PHP code, maybe).

In what situations would I use it?

You can use it in virtually any kind of text (text, HTML, Markdown, TeX, RTF, docx, …) whereas   is rather limited to HTML. But, as said, both methods produce the same character at the end.

1 Like

-Dan, by the way, there are many different —and useful— space characters available. For a complete list, see here.

Unfortunately, unlike the No-break Space, these are not directly accessible via the Mac keyboard. Because of that I’ve written a custom keyboard layout that has a key combo for every whitespace character (amongst other things).

You find the download and the documentation here. (It’s made with Ukelele, a really great keyboard layout editor, and you can easily customize it further to your needs.)

1 Like

@DanThomas I have used OPTION+SPACEBAR in web forms that insist on some type of text in a field before you can submit the form. This gives me a work around from having to do that. I do notice that it doesn’t always work. :wink:

If U+00A0 (⌥Space) doesn’t work for these purposes you can try one of the other whitespace characters from the list linked above. For example an En Space (U+2002,  ) or a Zero Width Non-joiner (U+200C, ‌).

But I hope this isn’t your only usage of ⌥Space :wink:. It’s main purpose is to keep words together, so you typically use it for example between number and unit symbol: “15⌥ Spacekg”. (Alternatively you could use a Narrow No-break Space (U+202F,  ) in these cases —if available.)

I like this idea @Tom. So how do I input these others using my keyboard? Is there a directory somewhere I can use as a reference?

Several possibilities, from comfortable to less comfortable:

  • Use my custom keyboard layout (see post above), or customize your own with Ukelele.

  • Define an abbreviation in a snippet expander like Typinator or KM.
    (Typinator comes with a little AppleScript that lets you insert every character by its decimal Unicode name. For example {Scripts/Unicode.applescript 8239} gives you a Narrow No-break Space.)

  • Insert them with PopChar or with the system’s Character palette (Edit > Emoji & Symbols). See below.

Keep in mind that not every font contains every character.

  • A good reference is the Wiki article, as linked above.

  • Enter the word “space” into the system’s Character palette to get (most of) the spaces, enter “joiner” to get the joiners. (Since these chars are invisible, you have to click on the apparently empty char boxes.)

####Character palette:


Keyboard Maestro token processing supports unicode hex numbers.

As a general rule, you can't type them, they have to be pasted.

Unicode spaces are listed at: https://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/chars/spaces.html

Thanks for the info, I didn’t know that. Should read the Wiki more often…
They seem to work by typing just as well (“Insert text by typing”).

Jolly dee and spiffing.