Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

Alternatively referred to as space and the space key, the spacebar or space bar is a long horizontal key on the lower edge of a keyboard that is always the largest and longest key on the keyboard. When the spacebar key is pressed it creates an empty space, also known as a space character or whitespace that helps separate words and other characters in a sentences. For example, if there were not spaces in this paragraph all of the text would be together and be very difficult to read.

Tip: When the keyboard is positioned in front of you the spacebar should be in the center of your body.

Where is the spacebar on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the spacebar highlighted in blue.


What is the function of the spacebar?

Pressing the spacebar once creates a single space where the text cursor is currently position. In the practice below you can add spaces to the text with no spaces by clicking with your mouse where you want to add the space and then pressing the spacebar key once.

Practice adding space

Practice adding space to existing text:

Create new text with space

Why is the spacebar the biggest key on the keyboard?

The spacebar is the biggest key on the keyboard because both thumbs should be resting on the spacebar.

Do both thumbs press the spacebar?

Although both thumbs should be resting on the spacebar only one thumb should be pressing the spacebar. Typically someone who is right-handed would press the spacebar with their right thumb. However, it is up to the user to decide which thumb works best for them.

How many spacebar keys are on a keyboard?

On all standard keyboards there is only one space bar at the bottom center of the keyboard. On some split keyboards it may appear that there are two space bars because of the split, but there is still technically only one spacebar.

How many spaces are in a tab?

A tab typically has five spaces.

File names with spaces

Although all operating systems today support spaces in file names, in a command line you may encounter errors because the command line doesn't know where the file name starts and ends. To prevent errors with file names with spaces surround the file name with quotes.

Should I be using "space bar" or "spacebar" in my writing?

When referring to a key on a keyboard both "space bar" and "spacebar" are correct. At Computer Hope we use the single word version "spacebar" or "spacebar key" in all of our writing.

Keyboard terms, Non breaking space, Space, White space