How to Insert a Non-breaking Space on a Mac

How to Insert a Non-breaking Space on a Mac

Want to keep a measurement and its unit together or a price and its currency? Wish a French text’s punctuation to look correct with thin spacing? Find out here how to insert non-breaking space on a Mac (and narrow non-breaking whitespace to boot).

First, a Dog and a Stranger Walk into a Bar

A stranger and a dog walk into a bar. You know neither, and the foreign woman apparently speaks a language you do not understand.

So, you turn to the dog and start conversing with the animal.

Saint Augustine, in so many words and the City of God, tells not quite this story but one very similar to illustrate humans’ troubles with making themselves understood in different languages.

Then, of course, there are computers with their peculiar (programming) languages and interfaces. How about telling your Mac to insert… written silence, but one that does not break?

How to Insert a Non-breaking Space on a Mac

Using Windows? How to Enter a Nonbreaking Space on Windows

Using the Keyboard

Time needed: 1 minute.

To insert a non-breaking space using a Mac keyboard:

  1. Position the text cursor where you want to insert the non-breaking space.

  2. Type Option Space.

    Type a non-breaking space using a Mac keyboard

Using the Character Viewer

To insert space that does not break at the end of a line using the Mac character viewer:

  1. Select Edit | Emoji & Symbols from the menu.
  2. If you see the emoji panel, click the Character Viewer button.
  3. Search for no-break space.
  4. Highlight, then double-click the NO-BREAK SPACE character under Unicode Name.

Using Unicode Input for No-break Space

To enter a non-breaking space directly using Unicode on a Mac:

  1. Enable and switch to Unicode Hex Input.
  2. Press and hold the Option key.
  3. Now type 00A0.
    A non-breaking space on a Mac

Insert a Narrow No-break Space on a Mac

With Unicode input and the Character Viewer, you can also enter a narrower version of the non-breaking space character. Use it to separate measurements from their symbols, for instance, for a typographically tight display.

To enter a narrow no-break space on a Mac:

  • Search for and enter narrow no-break space in Character Viewer or
  • type 202F while holding down Option with Unicode Hex Input active or
  • use the copy and paste narrow non-breaking space (see below).

Set Up a Shortcut for the Narrow Non-breaking Space

Since the narrow no-break space is both excessively useful and exorbitantly difficult to enter, I suggest setting up a text expansion for it.

To add a shortcut for inserting a narrow non-breaking space to your Mac:

  1. Select  (Apple logo) | System Preferences… from the menu.
  2. Open the Keyboard category.
  3. Go to the Text tab.
  4. Click + beneath the ist of current text expansions.
  5. Type your desired shortcut for the narrow non-breaking space in the Replace column.
    Example: If you want to be explicit, try something like nnbsp.
    No space: Because any whitespace character expands the shortcuts, note that the shortcut itself cannot contain Space, for instance.
    Units: If you use the narrow space primarily with units, you can also make shortcuts like /l for  lb.
  6. Paste the narrow non-breaking space from below in the With column.
  7. Press Enter.
    Set up a shortcut for the narrow non-breaking space character on a Mac

Insert a Non-breaking Space in Word for Mac

You can, of course, also enter a space character that will not break words at the line end using the keyboard in Word for Mac.

How to Insert a Non-breaking Space on a Mac: FAQ

Can I enter a non-breaking space in HTML?

Yes.

To insert a non-breaking space in HTML source code:

  • Use the   entity for a non-breaking space and
  • use the    entity for a narrow no-break space.
    Browser considerations: Not all browsers and operating systems will display the narrow non-breaking space correctly; you can work around the limitations, however.

Can I insert multiple non-breaking spaces in a row?

Yes.

Continuous non-breaking spaces will prevent the line from breaking.

What happens when a line is filled with no-break spaces?

Typically, the line will break with the following characters starting at the beginning of the next line. Any additional spaces will not move the characters from the line’s beginning, however.

Can I copy and paste the non-breaking spaces?

Yes. Use the following table to copy both non-breaking space and narrow no-break space for pasting anywhere:

Non-breaking space  
Narrow non-breaking space

(How to insert a non-breaking space on a Mac tested with macOS Monterey 12.0 and Big Sur 11.3; updated May 2022)

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