I’ve claimed throughout this book that many bad typography habits have been left over from the typewriter era. Here, I’ve collected them in one list. (Reminder—these are things you should not do.)
Straight quotes rather than curly quotes (see straight and curly quotes).
Two spaces rather than one space between sentences.
Multiple hyphens instead of dashes (see hyphens and dashes).
Alphabetic approximations of trademark and copyright symbols.
ellipses made with three periods rather than an ellipsis character.
Pretending that accented characters don’t exist.
Using more than one word space at a time.
Using tabs and tab stops instead of tables.
Using carriage returns to insert vertical space.
Using alphabetic characters as substitutes for real math symbols.
Making rules and borders out of repeated alphabetic characters.
Using monospaced fonts rather than proportional fonts.
Abusing all caps.
Thinking that the best point size for body text is 12.
Too much centered text.
Only using single or double line spacing.
Only using the line length permitted by one-inch page margins.
I’m far from the first person to observe that many bad typographic habits have been passed down from typewriters. A bestselling title of the early Mac era was Robin Williams’s book The Mac is Not a Typewriter, which spawned a sequel, The PC is Not a Typewriter. Still true.