Font Typesetting Function 04: “Which Function for Narrowed Spacing Between Characters is Used?”

There are various functions in Adobe InDesign/Illustrator that can be used for narrowed spacing between characters. Which function do you often use?

In InDesign, there are [Kerning], [Tracking], and [Narrowed Spacing Between Characters] in the Character Panel; and there is [Proportional Metrics] in [Character Panel Menu > OpenType Functions] ([OpenType Panel > Proportional Metrics] in Illustrator). In [Kerning], there are also companions to automatic kerning called [Japanese Fixed-Width], [Metrics], and [Optical], in addition to manual kerning.

PS: The [Narrowed Spacing Between Characters] function and the [Japanese Fixed-Width] option in [Kerning] are not included in the English user interface in InDesign/Illustrator.

From looking at a simple function, tracking is a function to narrow the spacing between multiple characters evenly (of course, there is usage for widening the spacing instead of narrowing, but only narrowed spacing is focused in this entry). On the other hand, manual kerning is a function to adjust the spacing between two characters manually. Looking at the minimal unit, however, the behavior of both functions is basically the same. As its logic is to narrow the spacing between characters, the spacing in the beginning of a line, etc. cannot be narrowed. Supposing one character is drawn in a “light gray square film,” the image is like piling and placing that film in a row.

In the next entry, I will talk about [Narrowed Spacing Between Characters].


Series archive Typesetting Japanese / Font Typesetting Function