Hidden macOS Sierra feature: Two-space period

10 September 2016, 08:55

Feature head image

The iPhone popularized the useful feature of tapping the spacebar twice in order to insert a period (a.k.a. full stop) at the end of a sentence. The feature also automatically capitalises the word that follows.

With macOS Sierra all of this comes to the Mac and you can turn it on within System Preferences – click the Keyboard icon, then the Text tab, and you’ll find the option at the right of the app window.

It works very well but requires you to retrain yourself when typing. I’m not sure that’s even possible for many of us, who’ve been typing – and hitting the period key – for decades. It’s proved useful on the iPhone but then again the use of on-screen keyboards was new to us when we first picked-up the iPhone, so we didn’t have to relearn how to type.

Main feature illustration

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Now all we need is tapping on the top of a Safari browser to scroll back to the top.

Michael Quinn · Sep 11, 04:18 AM · #

Yeah, not seeing this as terribly useful when you have a full keyboard (as opposed to the period-less onscreen keyboard in iOS).

Also, I don’t suppose it finally lets you separately manage smart quotes and smart dashes? I love smart quotes—the keyboard combos for those are nuts. But smart dashes drive me absolutely batty because two hyphens means something completely different than an em-dash, and I know when to use each of them. And since the keyboard combo for en-dash and em-dash is so easy and intuitive, smart dashes are a solution in search of a problem.

(The problem, I suspect, is people used to MSWord doing it for them and therefore not learning the keyboard combo, and that solution was in turn necessitated by MSWindows not providing a useful way to type the character, so the MSOffice team invented a workaround.)

(And, yes, that should’ve been an em-dash in my paragraph above, but I’m typing on an MSWindows machine and accessing that character is more trouble than it’s worth for a blog comment.)

Nat · Sep 12, 08:49 AM · #