User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm referring to when you double-click on the middle of a word in any sort of text editing situation (Google Docs, filling out this question, AIM, etc.) and the word as well as the space between it and next word are highlighted. What is the design decision behind this?

Also, I'm not sure if this is even the correct SE site, I just figured this sort of fell under UX.

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's so that when you then hit delete you are left with a single space between the previous and next word and don't have to subsequently delete that as well.

Same when you want to copy or cut and paste it from one position to another - the space goes with it - but it's not great if you meant to copy the word outside the application and you really only want the standalone word...but - we can't read people's minds...

share|improve this answer
Of course! Makes perfect sense. Get to work on that whole mind-reading thing, though. – Nick Van Hoogenstyn Jul 17 '11 at 7:42
In Mac OS X that space will not be selected, but when you hit delete it will be removed. This is to prevent you from copying the space, but you won't have two spaces after deleting the text. – rightfold Jul 30 '11 at 9:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.