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Old 11-23-2012, 02:57 PM   #1
Ripplinger
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Use of   for spacing

In a current book I've scanned to create an epub, I've been using  . . . in place of an ellipse. It's a book from the 40s and I wanted to keep the more stretched-out appearance of the ellipse as it was in the book rather than the ... if using the ellipse special character. It also seemed to keep a uniform space between the periods, never stretching that space wider for justified margins, which was what I wanted.

I decided to use the   between quotation marks and single quote marks rather than have them together with no space, " ' for instance, but the uniform space doesn't seem to hold here. I'm still tempted to avoid the space between even though I've read it's better to include it because justified margins always widened that space too much, and I thought the use of   would avoid that.

Is this the best way to do it or is there some other way to force a uniform width for the spaces? On my reader (Sony 350) all ellipses and spaces between the quote marks are a uniform width throughout the book. But I noticed when I open the epub in Calibre's viewer that the spacing between the quote marks often is wider (but ellipses seemed to stay uniform). And once converted to mobi the same situation happens, wider spaces for justifying the margins for both quotes and ellipses.

Or is it just not possible to specify a uniform width that all readers will handle?
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:02 PM   #2
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ellipse is a single character, which is why it can't stretch.
nbsp keeps things togetherso you don't end with:
and dot dot
dot

(work in Sigil)

<span class="olddot">.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.</span>

.olddot {display: block; letter-spacing: 6pt; }
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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I use something similar to theducks method;

<span class="hellip">.&thinsp;.&thinsp;.</span>
.hellip{letter-spacing:0.1em;white-space:nowrap}

or sometimes

<span class="hellip1">.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.</span>
.hellip{letter-spacing:-0.2em;white-space:nowrap}

I use thinspace or non-breaking spaces, whichever is closest to the effect I'm trying to achieve. Relying solely on letter-spacing to adjust the distance between the dots is unreliable since letter-spacing is not part of the epub specification. There is a better chance for the renderer to obey to the white-space-property than the letter-spacing. This provides a method to adjust the "air" between dots with letter-spacing, and provides a fallback to nbsp or thinsp when letter-spacing is not provided.

I use the same trick with double and single quotationmarks to get some space, but with a fallback to a thinspace that doesn't wrap

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Originally Posted by theducks View Post
.olddot {display: block; letter-spacing: 6pt; }
Don't you mean "display:inline-block"?
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:29 PM   #4
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I
Don't you mean "display:inline-block"?
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for the tips on how to do it. Is &thinsp; accepted by all readers? When I try it in Sigil for instance it shows a thin black block. I only have a Sony to test the output on, so don't want to risk using it if it's not handled well by all readers.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:58 PM   #6
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The firmware of all readers should be able to handle thinspace, but not all fonts contain the thinspace glyph. So I guess you can say that it is a matter of fonts rather than the readers. But there are fonts that does not contain the thinspace glyph. Personally I prefer to use thinspace only where I embed a font I know contain this glyph.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:11 PM   #7
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Ok, that clears it up nicely, thanks for the help.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:20 AM   #8
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If you embed a font in your epub file and are not satisfied with the hellip glyph, you can also edit this glyph in a program called fontforge (or other software capable of editing fonts). This method is 100% reliable in all readers that use the embedded font. If the embedded font is not used however, the &hellip; character from another font is used
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:31 PM   #9
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I never embed fonts into an epub I scan. I'll want a specific layout and size for title pages, dedications, printing history, etc., but for the text of the book I want people to be able to switch to their favorite font and size they're comfortable with. I know it's a main feature of my ereader to me and I always change fonts to my preference and what's easiest on my eyes.

So for that reason I'll just stick to using &nbsp; with the various tricks from the above posts, it works quite well. That way I'm sure it's compatible with all fonts for everyone's preferences.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripplinger View Post
I never embed fonts into an epub I scan. I'll want a specific layout and size for title pages, dedications, printing history, etc., but for the text of the book I want people to be able to switch to their favorite font and size they're comfortable with. I know it's a main feature of my ereader to me and I always change fonts to my preference and what's easiest on my eyes.

So for that reason I'll just stick to using &nbsp; with the various tricks from the above posts, it works quite well. That way I'm sure it's compatible with all fonts for everyone's preferences.
If your nbsp is too large you can use CSS to scale it smaller Make your . . . into a class and then scale down the class.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:13 PM   #11
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That's how I did it using Iznogood's examples above of a negative size. It was ok as is for the spaces between the periods of an ellipse, but the gap was too wide for the space between " and ', so it worked nicely there for me.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripplinger View Post
It also seemed to keep a uniform space between the periods, never stretching that space wider for justified margins, which was what I wanted.
&nbsp; is a non-breaking space, which is good for your need, but as far as I know, it's nowhere specified that it should not stretch with justification. That is indeed the case with Adobe-based readers (and maybe others), but do not rely too much on that (the equivalent markup in LaTeX, which is "~", is allowed to stretch, for instance).

Quote:
And once converted to mobi the same situation happens, wider spaces for justifying the margins for both quotes and ellipses.
Conversion can change everything. The target format may support a different set of features, and the conversion software may introduce all kinds of changes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
<span class="olddot">.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.</span>

.olddot {display: block; letter-spacing: 6pt; }
"letter-spacing" and "inline-block" are not included in the required CSS subset of ePub 2.1, though. But that might work in readers that support them. You could even define a new entity, say &oldhellip;, for easier usage, but I'm afraid custom entity definition (which requires online or embedded DCD files) is not much tested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripplinger View Post
Is &thinsp; accepted by all readers?
The font is the main problem here. I know it works fine with my Orizon, and probably all later Bookeen readers.

But if you want a thin non-breaking space, you have to use &# 8239; (without the space), which is more likely to be missing from the font.
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