Empty Characters: Understanding Their Role in Writing a Copy

May 1st, 2021

Reading time about 13 min

What Are Empty Characters?

Empty characters are generally used for better readability. They are there in the form of whitespace, which is created with the help of a spacebar to ensure that words are appropriately separated. 

While manually reading a document, empty characters appear as spaces between words or sometimes letters. The whitespace character isn’t necessary for understanding the meaning of the document because readers can skip over the whitespace as space.

Empty Characters, reading a document

However, all whitespaces are not a result of using the space bar. These whitespaces can be blank characters or a Unicode character. It implies that the font color of the words is changed to white.

Hence, misuse of empty characters for avoiding cheating detection is becoming quite rampant. This kind of manipulation students commits with these invisible characters that are not visible to the reader but are quite visible to the plagiarism checkers.

Why Are Whitespace Characters Used in a Document?

The logical reason for using whitespace is to ensure that readers do not have any problem reading the lines and words. One uses it to avoid the cramming of information in a passage or page.

But there are instances where whitespace is created by making characters invisible by using the white font; this raises an essential question regarding the ethical use of empty characters in a copy. It is vital to know the process of online plagiarism checking and its relation to the use of unique characters to understand the misuse of invisible characters.

Why Is a Manual Plagiarism Scan Not Sufficient?

Multiple documents require plagiarism scanning. From articles to student assignments and research papers, it has become an integral part of the academic world. It isn’t manually carried out now because of the presence of plagiarism detectors.

Automatic checking by an online similarity checker ensures that the document is free from copied content. After the scan is complete, a plagiarism report is generated. This report contains the percentage of plagiarism found in the uploaded copy. It is critical to get a low score for any assignment/research paper.

The use of empty characters often changes the plagiarism percentage of the document. Erroneous use of invisible characters might not affect the report quite exceptionally. However, intentional use of it in a text is there to reduce the plagiarism percentage.

Understanding the Effect of Empty Characters on a Copy

Invisible characters impact the document in different ways. The impact of whitespace characters in a text are delineated through the following points:

Readability: While reading a document, if there is not enough space between the words and the lines, the page becomes very difficult to read manually. Lack of space between lines also fills a page with much information. It is not easy to comprehend information that is crammed in a page. Therefore, to make the text readable and comprehensible blank characters are there in usage in a document.

Appearance: Proper use of whitespace can exceptionally improve the appearance of the entire document. The visual impact of a page that correctly uses whitespace is quite good.

Evasion From Plagiarism Detection: It is an adverse use of empty characters. Whitespace detection by a plagiarism checker can have hidden characters. This manipulation is done to confound them. The use of hidden text in a copied passage changes its meaning for the plagiarism checker. The copied content is left undetected because of the addition of hidden characters within the copied paragraph.

Low Plagiarism Score: A document scanning by a plagiarism checker is given a score by the software. Freelance writers aim to get the lowest possible score. However, the ideal practice is to create original content for acquiring a zero plagiarism.

Empty Characters, Original content

But content manipulators insert invisible characters in copied passages to lower the plagiarism score. It happens because the software reads the Unicode character. It no longer recognizes the copied passage as plagiarized content.

How to Deal With Unfair Writing Practices?

The positive or common reason for using whitespace characters quickly transformed into a novel method for plagiarizers. After the introduction of plagiarism detectors, content manipulators found new ways to evade detection. Online checking is quite common nowadays, and so cases of content manipulation using empty characters have started to surface.

Initially, the free plagiarism checkers were unable to detect this form of plagiarism. Therefore, students submitting copied content do not go through any punishment because the plagiarism checking software didn’t highlight the plagiarized passages. Manual checking of assignments or dissertations was also not a foolproof method for detecting plagiarism because human error can lead to incorrect results.

Therefore, to deal with copied content challenges with invisible characters, there is a development of sophisticated AI based plagiarism checking software.

Copyleaks Is Changing the Definition of Plagiarism Scan

Copyleaks has been a pioneer in the field of advanced plagiarism checking. The most innovative platform developed by them has artificial intelligence to support the plagiarism scanning process.

The AI software is highly efficient is it mimics the neural network of a human being. The reasoning ability of the software helps in detecting hidden plagiarism. The use of special characters or invisible characters for changing the scan report into the favor of the manipulative writer gets caught by the AI software.

Hence, camouflaging plagiarism by inserting invisible or Unicode characters isn’t possible due to AI. Examiners and people responsible for content checking can use this software to check copy thoroughly.


Empty character usage is often there as a manipulative technique for confounding the results of a plagiarism checker. Artificial intelligence in software technology has led to efficient platform that can detect such manipulations. The anti-plagiarism software, such as Copyleaks, is adept at highlighting the misuse of unique characters and hidden characters.

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