Weird Gray Spaces Between Words

Hi guys!

More often than not I do not type right in Libre Writer, I usually write someplace else, usually one of two places and transfer it over. Actually, that’s probably a really bad habit lol. Anyway, I usually write in either Notepad or in Google Docs (and sometimes grammarly). Usually everything transfers perfectly. But, last night I was having a weird issue transferring from Notepad OR Google Docs where 99% of the time it’s creating this really odd “space” that is gray after every comma, colon, explanation mark, etc. And 1% of the time between regular words with no punctuation. I am wondering if anyone else has had this issue and how I get rid of it without having to go through and fix it one by one.

I am attaching an example so you can see what I mean. At first I thought it might be a formatting issue so I selected the text and did the “remove formatting” option, all that did was remove my custom font and it kept the gray space lol.

I have never ever ever had this happen so if someone knows a quick fix, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks ahead of time.

I also have the earliest version of Writer and I am on Windows 10.

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They always expect us to go thru a huge document deleting all those annoying grey spaces. MS Word doesn’t do it, no other program I found does it. Why can’t LibreOffice not insert grey boxes all over a document?

@Gallienus: what do you mean? Using NO-BREAK SPACE instead of SPACE is author’s error. You always have the possibility of Edit>Find & Replace to restore the correct character.
New question here without more details.

Most probably it’s a “non-breaking space” (U+00a0). In Writer you introduce it by pressing Ctrl Shift Space but for some reason it’s quite common on many web pages/applications, so when you copy/paste text it appears in your document. Just delete them.

Unless you actively use some of the “non standard spaces” (n-space, m-space, word joiners, etc.) on purpose, it’s quite easy to convert all those spaces in “normal spaces” by using regular expressions: open the S&R tool (Ctrl H), check “regular expression” box under “more options,” write [:space:] in the search box (this expression search for all the different kinds of spaces), a normal space in the replace box and press “replace all.”

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Just a note: [:space:] (alternative POSIX-like syntax for \p{space}) matches tabs, among other things. If needed, tabs may be excluded from the match using this regex: [\p{space}--\t] (or [[:space:]--\t]). See regex help page of the engine used in LibreOffice for more details.

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Just delete them !!! are you out of your f***//g mind? deleting all those gray spaces out of a 20 page document

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The “comment” by @ahjaan_jeffrey above really tells much about poster’s level of reading abilities, comprehension, and politeness. Possibly we should find a way to keep such people away.

I’m having a similar issue. I needed to copy an article I’m writing from G Docs to LO Writer. (I normally avoid this because I know G Docs creates formatting issues.) I used the Search & Replace tool to get rid of the gray spaces. (Thanks Mike!)

Now, when I insert footnotes and end-notes, they are still highlighted in that gray color. (I can’t post a pic here, but the superscripts indicating foot/end notes are highlighted in gray.) The S&R tool doesn’t remove it on them either.

Is this a carryover from G Docs?
Is there a way to remove it?

Thank you for your help.

(Please let me know if it would be better to start this in a new thread. If so, my apologies.)

I like his comment. It’s a critical error of LibreOffice that it inserts weird grey boxes on all text copied from online and other sources.

Any text processor (like Word) just copies anything that is in the clipboard. When a copied page contains non-breaking spaces (which is often the case), they get pasted into Word just as well as into Writer.

Writer highlights them on screen by default, for user’s convenience (because their behavior is indeed different from usual spaces, and people often want to be informed early about their presence). Word does not, unless formatting marks are shown. These are two slightly different strategies in showing otherwise confusingly similarly-looking characters; and Writer allows to configure the behavior (e.g., OptionsWriterFormatting AidsNon-breaking spaces). In any case, these highlights are not shown on any final material (on print, in exported PDFs, etc.) - they are only a visual aids when editing.

No, it is not an “error of LibreOffice”, let alone “critical”. Not knowing your tool is normal at first, but not learning is a critical user error.