Random removal of spaces from Word documents

I’m working with 2 EndNote users (one with X5 for Windows, the other with X6 for Mac) who are having the same problem: Sometimes, when they format the reference list for a Word document, some of the spaces in the document are removed at random. There is no obvious logic to which spaces are removed; they are not necessarily adjacent to the reference citations. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, what did you do about it?


Steve Palmer

It is likely that the spaces are associated with fields in the output style chosen and if the field is empty, that space is excluded.  What is (are) the styles and what spaces get deleted?  There are “link adjacent” spaces (which look like tiny circles, and to those with better eyes or bigger fonts are actually centered tiny diamond shapes I am told) and there are also “forced separation” (which appears as a |).  These are special characters to make sure punctuation and spaces are included when a field is filled, but not when it is empty.  They are a bit finicky and many styles - especially unusual record types, have too many or not enough of the right ones out of the box, and it only becomes a problem when fields usually filled, are not filled. 

I didn’t word my post clearly enough. The spaces that disappear are not in the reference list; they are in the main text of the document. The result is words being fused together, the loss of space between punctuation marks and the start of the next word, etc. These spaces are often not adjacent to a reference citation, so there should be no EndNote field codes where they are. It’s mystifying.

Oh wow, that is really weird and nope, I haven’t seen that! 

– Are they switching by any chance between different versions of word or from Mac to PC to Mac or using an unusual font? 

I work with documents that have multiple authors, so the use of various versions of Word or of both Mac and PC seems likely. However, usually there is only 1 EndNote user in the mix.

I don’t know why Endnote would affect this, but if one of the users is using a font that uses something strange for spaces (like when you copy text from an html document and they look like little circles sometimes, (if you “show all” for markup).  I wonder if the font is replaced with a zero space “space”  when Endnote runs thru the document, affecting them somehow?  Seems a stretch though. 

Interesting thought. I went back and looked at a version of the document that predates the addition of the EndNote references, and I didn’t see those little circles instead of spaces.

In any case, I think I’ll just ask IT to reinstall EndNote on these users’ machines.

Hi Steve,

I wonder if you manage to get this sorted. We are having the same issue! Every time one runs “Update references”, spaces disappear, at random, most of the time near references… but not always. It is really annoying.

Did you discover if it was related to special spaces? Is this fixed for you?

Kind regards


I’m not much aware on space in my endnote so I didn’t notice that.

I’m afraid we never solved the problem per se, but it hasn’t come up again recently, either. It did not have to do with special spaces.

We have had a similar problem (not obviously related to EndNote) with other manuscripts in which spaces sometimes disappear when the document is opened on a different computer. We noticed that in each case, the author of the manuscript was Italian, and we edit in US English, so we think it had something to do with the different language settings in Word on each machine.