How do newspaper writers get the type to line up on the right side?

Dear Cecil:

Dear Cecil:

I have discovered that on every single page in every book, magazine, newspaper, etc., the words all end at the same place on the far right. This example of uniform perfection is bugging me. How do they DO that? Can't anyone "take a walk on the wild side" and end their words 1 or 2 spaces short?

Cecil replies:

Cecil replies:

When I get questions like this, Kirsten, it is all I can do to suppress a sob. But then I think: cripes, somebody has to explain these things to people. Lining everything up on the right is called justification. It’s done because typographers think it looks nice. These days computerized typesetting equipment does it automatically by putting extra space in between the words on the line.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

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