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Chapter 22. Character Formatting > Kerning and Tracking

Kerning and Tracking

Kerning and tracking remove or add space between character pairs. Kerning adjusts spacing between two characters. Tracking changes the spacing for all character pairs in a range of text (PageMaker calls this range kerning). Kerning and tracking are measured in units relative to the size of the typeface—in ems. Note that by default XPress defines an em as the width of two zeros next to each other in a given font and size. InDesign uses a more standard value: An em equals the point size, so in 24-point text, one em is 24 points wide.

Metrics Kerning

Normally, if you select a range of text you’ll see the word “Metrics” on the Kerning popup menu in the Character or Control palette. If you click an insertion point between two characters, the Kerning menu shows the value of the font kern pair in thousandths of an em: It will show a number like “0” (no kerning) or “(-70)” (which means that the current font has a kern pair that reduces the space by of an em). To apply Metrics kerning (removing any manual kerning), select a range of characters with the Type tool or one or more unlinked text frames with the Selection tool, then choose Metrics in the Kerning popup menu.


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