Typesetting acceptance of spacing slashes?

In UI design, one often has to work in the confines of limited space and/or simply try to reduce overly excessive descriptions and such.

Often, this results in using slashes a lot. This/that type of thing.

I’ve been asked in the past to add spaces to each side of a slash to give it some ‘breathing’ room and while at first this seemed wrong, I’ve also grown to prefer it as an option.

An example:

Download/Print PDF


Download / Print PDF

Some questions:

  • Do you prefer one over the other (and why?)
  • Is the spaced-slash acceptable? Am I committing a typographic faux pas?

Ideally, one would kern/letterspace the slash and not use whole spaces, but in the context of web dev, it’s likely that rarely will out content folks and/or developers spend time on that detail, so am proposing the spaced option. It also offers the added benefit of being more likely to wrap properly if need be.


As it often goes with these things, the answer will be subjective. Here are some thoughts, though:

I think I tend to go without a space unless I’m worried about things flowing to multiple lines.

Perhaps context could help you decide. Maybe ‘Download/Print PDF’ carries a connotation of ‘Download PDF and Print PDF’ while ‘Download / Print PDF’ says ‘Download and Print PDF’.

Maybe, if possible, you could try using   to use a thin space to strike a better balance:

Download / Print PDF (space)
Download / Print PDF (thin space)
Download/Print PDF (no space)

Hair space ( ) should be in the mix too, but didn’t seem to look any different when I tried it here. There are a few other space options in Unicode as well, but I don’t think any others are relevant to this discussion.

Source : Link , Question Author : DA01 , Answer Author : Brendan

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