(Redirected from Letterspace)

The question says it all pretty much. I've been searching around and starting to worry that it's impossible. Sejda pdf desktop. I've got this canvas element that I'm drawing text to. I want to set the letter spacing.

Docent sights juggernaut
Headline set tight with minus letter-spacing
Docent sights juggernaut
Headline set with no additional letter-spacing
Docent sights juggernaut
Headline with more open letter-spacing
Docent sights juggernaut
Headline with open letter-spacing similar to metal type
Docent sights juggernaut
Headline with still more letter-spacing
Docent sights juggernaut
Headline with wide letter-spacing
Docent sights juggernaut
Headline with wider letter-spacing, sometimes used for broadcast

Letters: letterspace: letterspaces Words that sound like or rhyme with letterspace letterspaces altercates letterspacing letterspacings ultrasecret letterers altercate literacies altercated aliteracies. Letter-spacing refers to a uniform adjustment to the spacing of a word or block of text affecting its density and texture. Kerning is a spacing adjustment of one or more specific pairs of adjacent characters that, because of the relationship of their respective shapes, would appear to be badly spaced if left un-adjusted. Let­terspac­ing (also known as char­ac­ter spac­ing or track­ing) is the ad­just­ment of the hor­i­zon­tal white space be­tween the let­ters in a block of text. Un­like kern­ing, which af­fects only des­ig­nated pairs of let­ters, let­terspac­ing af­fects every pair. Letterspace is a free application that allows you to create and manage notes. Main features: - Beautiful markdown syntax highlighting. Notes with #hashtag and @mention are grouped together in Sidebar.

In typography, letter-spacing or tracking is an optically-consistent adjustment to the space between letters to change the visual density of a line or block of text.


Letter-spacing is distinct from kerning, which adjusts the spacing of particular pairs of adjacent characters which, because of the relationship of their shapes, would appear to be badly spaced if left unadjusted. For example: a capital V next to a capital A. These would need to be brought closer together.

In its original meaning with metal type, a kern meant having a letter stick out beyond the metal slug to which it was attached, or it cut off part of the body of the slug to allow (other similarly-trimmed) letters to overlap. A kern could therefore bring letters only closer together (negative spacing), but it was possible to add space between letters. Digital kerning could go in either direction. Tracking can similarly go in either direction, but with metal type, one could make groups of letters only farther apart (positive spacing).

Letter-spacing adjustments are frequently employed in news design. The speed with which pages must be built on deadline does not usually leave time to rewrite paragraphs that end in split words or create orphans or widows. Letter-spacing is increased or decreased by a modest and usually unnoticeable, amount to fix an unattractive look.

Digital systems[edit]

Word processing and desktop publishing programs for personal computers, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, WordPerfect, QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop, use differing methods of adjusting letter-spacing. What is common to most systems is that the default letter-spacing is zero and uses the character widths and kerning information built into the font itself.

Although digital type sets tighter, on average, than metal type, this results primarily from the more ready availability of kerning, rather than any design choice inherent in the technology. Digital type does allow, however, for negative sidebearings, which were uncommon in metal type because of the difficulty in cutting a 'kern' in the original sense.

In the days of machine-implemented lead typesetting, such as Linotype machines and the Monotype System, letter-spacing had to be uniform. In modern digital page-layout software, high-end applications all use relative measurements proportional to the size of the type. QuarkXPress uses units of 1/200 of an em, and the competing Adobe InDesign uses 1/1000 of an em. Therefore, in QuarkXPress, a tracking setting of 3 opens text noticeably, but in InDesign a tracking setting of 3 is barely noticeable.


The amount of letter-spacing in text affects legibility. Tight letter-spacing, especially in small text sizes, can diminish legibility. The addition of minimal letter-spacing can often increase the legibility and readability. Adding whitespace around the characters allows the individual characters to emerge and to be recognized more quickly. Adding too much space, however, may isolate individual letters and make it harder for the reader to perceive whole words and phrases, which reduces readability.

Wide letter-spacing, beyond relaxed book composition, can look affected and earned the opprobrium of Frederic Goudy:'Men who would letterspace blackletter would shag sheep.'[1] When quoted, 'shag' is often bowdlerised as 'steal'. Goudy's pronouncement inspired the title of Stop Stealing Sheep,[2] an introduction to typography that Spiekermann coauthored.

Letterspace Amsterdam

In the days of hot metal typesetting, letter-spacing required adding horizontal space between letters of words set in metal type in increments of a minimum of a half-point. Some publishers and typesetters avoided letter-spacing because it was costly in materials and labor. Letter-spacing required hand insertion of copper (a half-point), brass (one point), and printer's 'lead' (two points) spaces between individual pieces of type or between matrices. Despite the cost, letter-spacing was used in print advertising and book publishing. It was also used for very short phrases set in capital letters or small caps to prevent the phrases from appearing too black compared to the rest of the page.

Fixed spaces[edit]

Letter-spacing may also refer to the insertion of fixed spaces, as was commonly done in hand-set metal type to achieve letter-spacing. That is a more mechanical method that relies less upon spacing and kerning tables resident in each typeface and accessed and used when letterspacing is applied universally. Fixed spaces include a hair space, thin space, wordspace, en-space, and em-space. An en-space is equal to half the current point size, and an em-space is the same width as the current point size.

Changing kerning perception[edit]

Kerning contrasted with tracking (letter-spacing): with spacing the 'kerning perception' is lost.
While tracking adjusts the space between characters evenly, regardless of the characters, kerning adjusts the space based on character pairs. There is strong kerning between the 'V' and the 'A' and no kerning between the 'S' and the 'T'.

A visually-pleasing result,[3][4] even with no 'kerning control,' can be achieved with some control of the space between letters.

Example on webpages: with CSS1, a standard of 1996, the letter-spacing property (illustrated) offer some control for lost or enhance 'kerning perception'—kerning can be simulated with non-uniform spacing between letters. Only with the standard CSS3, font-kerning property arrives with a complete control of kerning.[5] In the meantime, web designers used the workaround of letter-spacing, mainly to enhance spaced texts of titles and banners.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Comment by Erik Spiekermann (15 October 2005) in Wardle de Sousa, Tiffany (2 July 2005). 'Famous Quotes from Type Designers'. Typophile.com. Archived from the original on 25 August 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  2. ^Spiekermann, Erik; Ginger, E. M. (2002). Stop Stealing Sheep & find out how type works. Adobe Press. ISBN978-0-201-70339-9.
  3. ^Slattery, Timothy J.; Rayner, Keith (2013). 'Effects of intraword and interword spacing on eye movements during reading: Exploring the optimal use of space in a line of text'. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 75 (6): 1275–1292. doi:10.3758/s13414-013-0463-8. PMID23709061.
  4. ^'The Rhetoric of Typography: Effects on Reading Time, Reading Comprehension, and Perceptions of Ethos', Eva Brumberger. Technical Communication, Volume 51, Number 1, February 2004 , pp. 13-24.
  5. ^'CSS Fonts Module Level 3'. w3.org.


  • Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style. Hartley & Marks: 1992. ISBN0-88179-033-8.
  • Kane, John. A type primer.Prentice Hall: 2002. ISBN0-13-099071-X.
  • Lupton, Ellen. Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students.Princeton Architectural Press: 2007. ISBN978-1-56898-448-3).
  • Spiekermann, Erik. Stop Stealing Sheep & Find out how type works. Adobe Press: 2002. ISBN0-201-70339-4.
  • Owen Williams, Testing David. Nakai Theatre Home Grown Festival 2008, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, (2008)6

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Letter spacing.

The dictionary definition of letterspacing at Wiktionary

Spacing When Typing A Letter

Retrieved from 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Letter-spacing&oldid=1017144247'