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Today when I opened Emacs (26.3) for the first time since updating Linux (Arch) I was greeted with a wide (two spaces) cursor, and every letter on the screen separated by a space, like this:

F i l e    l o c a t i o n s

This is true everywhere: in the text, in the mode line, in the linum numbers to the left on the window. The only place it isn't true is in a read-only buffer like the initial screen that comes up when you start Emacs. I don't see any errors in the *Messages* buffer.

I don't know where to start. Any ideas?

  • Replacing the font Inconsolata with FiraCode (or for that matter, anything else) in Emacs solves the problem. No idea why. – Rodney Price Mar 31 at 4:58
  • I also ran into strange xft font handing issue that only impacted certain fonts, perhaps this answer helps: emacs.stackexchange.com/q/55096/2418 – ideasman42 Mar 31 at 8:44
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It's an issue with how Xft calculates the width of characters, which is triggered by Inconsolata. See Inconsolata for full details.

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You may need to specify the XFT spacing explicitly.

The font may not be declared mono-spaced, the solution is to force this through the font specifier.

  • Fira Code-13:spacing=90 (dual spacing)
  • Fira Code-13:spacing=100 (mono spacing)
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