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If you make a text box / paragraph in Illustrator, then right align the paragraph, as you type, everything moves to the left since it's right aligned - just as you'd expect.

However, if you start typing spaces, Illustrator ignores them and nothing moves until you type a non-white-space character, then it respects all the the spaces it was ignoring suddenly.

How can I force it to respect the spaces?

The default behavior is probably convenient normally, but I'm importing placement from another place that respects the spaces and Illustrator's smartness is changing the original design intent (in an automated workflow).

  • good question. I've long suffered with this when wanting to push something off the right edge with a few spaces. Very annoying. – Confused Nov 11 '16 at 22:42
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    Interesting question. Doesn't seem to be a way. But I also think utilizing spaces to move type around is not a great practice. Using point type, placed appropriately, or even tabs rather than spaces, would be much better in my opinion. – Scott Nov 11 '16 at 23:00
  • Of course... you could always add a non-whitespace character and the end.. and then select it and remove it's fill color so it's essentially invisible. – Scott Nov 11 '16 at 23:27
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    Also, not sure how script savvy you are but you could replace all spaces with a figure space instead and those will show up at the ends of lines. – Hanna Nov 11 '16 at 23:53
  • @scott we were actually adding a random character for another reason, but had the same thought. It turned out to cause more problems and confusion than it was worth. Apparently, we can't get Illustrator to write a \n any apply a font size via ExtendScript. @Johannes that's a great suggestion and it works! We're 100% scripted so that's perfect. If you answer, I'll mark that as the answer :) – jon_wu Nov 12 '16 at 1:45
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There are a few options:

  • Type -> Insert White Space -> Em (Shift+Ctrl+M) or En (Shift+Ctrl+N). You can add as many of these as you want to the start of your line.
  • Indent. The most obvious answer is if you want spaces at the start of the line, its an indent that should be used.
  • Break your text into individual sections so you can position however you want
  • The first option here is the one that solves my issue. That or using a figure space as proposed by @Johannes in the comments above. I need to add spaces to the end of the line because my use case is right-aligned text. Illustrator respects leading spaces, but not trailing ones. Indent isn't an option for the case I listed since this is to maintain the format of text that was created outside of Illustrator. – jon_wu Nov 17 '16 at 5:08

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