Quick Tip:
Kerning Text to Make It Look More Natural

Certain combinations of letters look better when the characters are moved a bit closer together. This is called kerning.

InDesign gives you three choices for kerning … two automatic and one manual.

Automatic kerning
You can automatically kern type by using metrics or optical kerning.

Metrics kerning is based on built-in information about the spacing between specific pairs of letters. Some of these are: LA, P., To, Tr, Ta, Tu, Te, Ty, Wa, WA, We, Wo, Ya, and Yo. InDesign uses metrics kerning by default, so specific pairs are automatically kerned when you import or type text.

Optical kerning adjusts the spacing between adjacent characters based on letter shapes. When a font includes only minimal built-in kerning, or if you use two different typefaces or sizes in one or more words on a line, use optical kerning.

To set automatic kerning: Set the text insertion point between the characters you want to kern or select a range of text. In the Character panel or Control panel, select “Metrics” or “Optical” on the Kerning menu.

Manual kerning
Use manual kerning when adjusting space between two letters or when setting large type for headlines.

To set manual kerning: Place the text tool insertion point between the two characters. In the Character panel or the Control panel, type or select a numeric value in the Kerning menu.

Or press Alt-Left/Right Arrow (Windows) or Option-Left/Right Arrow (Mac) to manually decrease or increase kerning between two characters.

Turning off kerning
Select the text you want to remove kerning from. Press Alt-Ctrl-Q (Windows) or Option-Command-Q (Mac) to reset the kerning. The kerning will be reset to metrics, regardless of which option you previously applied.

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Published: September 20, 2007

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