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. Commented Mar 31, 2020 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
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 8:44

2 Answers 2


It's an issue with how Xft calculates the width of characters, which is triggered by Inconsolata. See Inconsolata for full details.


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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