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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to change leading and tracking, both from the keyboard so that you can make incremental changes. I'll show you where the numerical options are just in case you want to access them. But the keyboard shortcuts are the best way to work, as we will see. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as a document called Formatted title.ai, so called because I have formatted the title and nothing more. Found inside of the 08_type folder. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in because I want to change the formatting of the byline right here. So I'm going to triple-click on the byline in order to select the entire thing with the Type tool.
Then let's say I want to change it to 18 point. So it's currently 10 point. I know I want 18. What the heck, let's just select the value and change it to 18 this time around, just for the sake of getting work done quickly. And I'm also going to Ctrl and scroll down here to give myself a little more room on the right so things are little more centered. That would be a Command+Scroll down, Command+ Scroll wheel that is on the Mac. Okay, so let's say now I want to change the distance between this line of type that's selected, and the line of type above it. That's called leading. So the vertical spacing between one line of type and another is called leading inside of Illustrator.
Now inside of another application, it might be called line spacing, but Adobe and other hoi polloi apps like to call it Leading, because back in the way old days, back in the days of hand- type setting they used to create space between lines of type using strips of lead. So if you look at the word it looks like leading, it's l-e-a-d-i-n-g but it's pronounced leading, and that's why. All right, so to see what the Leading value is currently, we have to bring up the Character palette. It's not listed up here in the Control palette, so you could click on the word Character to bring up the dropdown palette but I prefer to work with the Character palette just so it will stay up on screen. And I could get to it by clicking on this little A icon here in the column of palette icons, or I could press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac to bring up that Character palette. So that's Ctrl+T to bring it up, Ctrl+T to hide it again. On the Mac, that's Command+T, for Type of course.
All right, so let's go ahead and hide this guy, focus our attention on this one. Now notice that currently the Leading value, here it is, this guy right there, with the A on top of the other A. The Leading value is set to 18, and when you have the same value for both Type Size and Leading, that's called Solid Leading. You can also change Leading incidentally to Auto if you want to, and what Auto does is it shifts the Leading value to 120% of whatever the Type Size value is, automatically, or you can choose some other value that you want from this list or you can enter a numerical value as well. So I'm going to go ahead and change it to 14 points, let's say.
Now another thing that you can do is you can change the value from the keyboard, and I really recommend you remember this one. It's Alt+Down arrow. That would be Option+Down arrow on the Mac to move that type down, and that would be Alt+Up arrow or Option+Up arrow on the Mac to move the type up. So you are reducing the Leading by pressing Alt or Option+Up arrow, you are increasing Leading by pressing Alt or Option+Down arrow and notice that you are working in half-a-point increments, thanks to our modifications to the Preferences Settings in the previous exercise.
If you want to work in five times an increment, so in our case, 2.5 points at a time, you would press Ctrl+Alt+Down arrow or Ctrl+Alt+Up arrow, on the Mac that would be Command+Option+Down arrow to get looser leading or Command+Option+Up arrow to get tighter leading like so. Eventually what I want, I believe, is something around 15 points, so 18 on 15, you will frequently hear I call that by the way. So if you see 18/15, for example, listed on a page at some place, what the designer is calling for is 18 point Type Size on 15 point Leading.
So just so you have a sense for some of the terminology to workout there and this looks very good I think. Now let's say I also want to increase the spacing of the characters. I can change the Tracking value, this guy right there. Now Tracking versus Letter Spacing, by the way, there is something called Letter Spacing. That is the absolute distance between letters of type. Tracking is the relative distance between characters of type that's heaped on top of or subtracted from the Kerning, and we will be discussing Kerning and Kerning Pairs in the next exercise. But for now, all I want you to do is I want you to increase the Tracking, the distance between the individual characters.
And the best way to do this you can't do it numerically, you can't enter a value if you want to, you can say hey, I want twenty five thousandths of an em space, so it's how this is measured. Then you would press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac and that would spread out the characters slightly. But the better way to do it is just from the keyboard and that is pressing Alt. Very much like Leading. Okay, so it's Alt+Right arrow to move the characters apart or Alt+Left arrow to move them incrementally together, and notice that we're working in five thousandths of an em space. You can see this value change incrementally by 5. That would be Option+Right arrow to spread the characters apart from each other, or Option+Left arrow to move them together on the Macintosh side of things.
Now if you want to change the Tracking by larger increments, once again by 5x increments, you would add the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac. So this is Ctrl+Alt+Right arrow. To move the characters way apart this is Ctrl+Alt+Left arrow. This is Command+ Option+Right arrow on a Mac and this is Command+Option+Left arrow on a Mac. All right, I want to move the characters apart to approximately here, let's say. And that gives me a Tracking value of 115, very interesting. I don't really care what the final Tracking value is. I'm more interested in how my byline looks on screen.
So this is it, this is how it looks on screen. It looks awfully darn good I think. I'll go ahead and zoom out so that we can take in the text, and then I'll press the Escape key, or to switch the Black Arrow tool and press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A to deselect my text. We now have a formatted title and a formatted byline. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to adjust Kerning inside of Illustrator.
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