Get iOS-style “double-spacebar ⇢ period” trick on macOS

For too long I have suffered from the tiny momentary annoyance of typing space space on my Mac keyboard, thinking I will get period + space like I do on iPhone and iPad.


How it was in the bad old days

Typing two spaces in a row macOS results in… two two spaces.

In a row.

I won’t rant on it, but, as we learned in 1990, on page 13 of The Mac is not a Typewriter, in modern computing, two spaces in a row is rarely needed, and probably actually Bad™.

Click me to see full sized

What is a contentious nerd to do?

Method 1: Just turn on the macOS native setting.

Turns out there’s a “hidden” (from me, obviously) setting right in the Keyboard → Text preference pane to “Add period with double-space”.


Use that: it’s fast and works just like iOS.

Except when it doesn’t, like in “web app” type apps like Slack or anywhere in Chrome and who knows where else.

Which brings us to method 2…



Method 2: Set up a BetterTouchTool “Custom Key Sequence”

I have used software called BetterTouchTool for small productivity boosts on macOS for years.

It has stupid-configurable window snapping tools, which is why I originally bought it, but it also allows you to allows you to set up custom actions based on mouse or trackpad gestures, gives much finer-grained control over the speed of things like mouse tracking, scrolling, where the touch-sensitive areas of your Magic Mouse are and a million other things.

What I realized this morning was that I can use its custom key sequences to overcome the frustrating lack of being able to hit spacebar twice and get a damn period.

This is a screenshot.

In BetterTouchTool’s preferences (either “Simple” or “Advanced”, doesn’t matter) click the button labeled “ + Add New Shortcut or Key Sequence”.

Choose “Key Sequence” and click the “Record New Key Sequence” button, then hit your spacebar twice.

You’re looking to set up a “predefined action” called “Paste Custom Text”.

The custom text is “period space”, like, you know a period and then a space.

Save that junk and obtain enlightenment.

How it is now

With this BetterTouchTool trick, typing two spaces in a row gets you what it should: a period and then a space.

I mean, we’re not animals.

You’re welcome.

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