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Is it acceptable to spell it "spacebar" or must the word be spelled with a space in it? I'm using it to refer to a keyboard shortcut in my application's documentation.

Further, should it be capitalized? And if split into two words, should both be capitalized?

10

Definitely not capitalized: a Space Bar would be something like a Mars Bar or Milky Way, but less dense (facetious confectionery reference).

But whether you include a space is up to you. Originally so: the space bar is just below the X key, which requires a space to avoid confusion. However, spacebar is common enough not to be ambiguous by now.

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  • +1 for facetious confectionery reference. And a good explanation. – simchona Jul 17 '11 at 20:14
  • This NGram suggests the single-word version really took over in the 90s, when the referent itself became common enough for 'ordinary' people to need the word. Leafing through a few dozen, it looks to me as if 5-10% are pointlessly capitalised. But I'd expect that to diminish over time, since it's largely a "techie" style (we even use SpaceBar sometimes! :) – FumbleFingers Jul 18 '11 at 3:32
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According to the 4th edition of the Microsoft Manual of Style, Spacebar should be capitalized, similar to the other keys on the keyboard.

Several general language dictionaries reference the word without capitalization, written as two words (cf. Oxford Learner's Dictionary, Merriam Webster).

To make matters more confusing, Microsoft's Terminology Portal proposes several different variants: SPACEBAR, Spacebar, and spacebar.

A search in Google Books provides yet more examples illustrating why we're all asking ourselves this question; SPACEBAR, Spacebar, space bar, and spacebar are all found in publication.

Good luck!

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0

All the keys on a keyboard are written with capital letters, so logic suggests it's written as "Spacebar".

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  • Do you have sources? As it is now, I disagree with you. – American Luke Nov 16 '12 at 23:40
  • The identification marks on the keys are written with capital letters, but my spacebar doesn't have anything written on it. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 12 '18 at 22:39

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