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In this movie, we'll be covering kerning, tracking, and baseline ahift. Now, to understand what those things are, let's switch to the Magazine Spreads layout within this project and as we look at this, we can see the PetWorld up here has specifically spaced letters in the word. Every professionally designed typeface has kerning pairs built into it. What that means is that whenever for example a T butts up against a W, there is a certain amount of space between them, either more or less depending on the shapes of the letters.
The idea is to make them all look uniform throughout the entire word and throughout the entire block of text. Sometimes, you want to adjust those kerning pairs so that you can get the effect that you are after. You may want them tighter, you may want them looser. Let's look at how you adjust kerning between two letters. I am going to zoom-in here on PetWorld by holding down Ctrl+Shift and dragging and as we look at this word, we notice that there is some space between the P and the E, the E and the T, the T and the W, they should look sort of the same to make it look visually appealing.
Let's explore what's happening in this word. As I double-click and click between two letters, down in the Measurements palette, look at the Character Attributes tab. There you see this field down here that indicates the kerning value. As we click from letter pair to letter pair, we see that oh! Goodness, there is 5 assigned between the T and the W, and there is -3 between the L and the D. What's happening there is someone has applied a negative kerning to bring the L and the D closer together whereas between the T and the W, someone has applied a positive kerning value of 5 to separate that out a little bit.
As you may be able to guess, changing that amount is just a matter of either typing-in a new number here, or using these up and down arrows. Let's click over between the P and the E, and what you see here is there is no manual kerning applied. If you want to for example bring the P and the E closer together, you can use these Up and Down buttons. I'll click the Down button and that brings it together by 10 units of kerning. To me, that's too much. I usually hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows, and then when I click those arrows, it brings it in by 1 unit of kerning.
That way, I can get much finer control over it. If you find yourself doing this a lot, there is a keyboard shortcut that makes it easier to work with and they center around the Bracket keys on your keyboard, which are right next to the P key. All you have to do is hold down Command and Shift or on Windows Ctrl+Shift and press those Bracket keys. Let's click between the E and the T, so you can see what I'm talking about. If I hold down Command and Shift or on Windows Ctrl and Shift and click on the Right Bracket on my keyboard, it's going to add 10 units of kerning and if you look down in the bottom of the Measurements palette, you will see there's 10 in the Kerning field.
If I hold down Command+Shift or Ctrl+Shift on Windows and press the Left Bracket key, it will remove 10 units of kerning. Like I said before, that may be too much for the kind of work you are doing. So by simply adding the Alt or Option key, you can reduce that to 1 unit of Kerning each time you press the Bracket keys, left takes you closer together, right takes you farther apart. Now that's a great tool to have when all you are trying to do is move two letters closer together or further apart. But what if you need to spread all the letters out farther or bring all the letters closer and together? To do that, all you have to do is select all the text that you want to change.
So I'll just type Command+A to select all the text or Ctrl+A on Windows and now any changes I make down here become what they call tracking values. In other words, you are moving all the letters closer together or farther apart by the same amount. As you can see this entire word has 1 unit of Tracking assigned to it which means that they have all been spread out by 1 unit of tracking and just like with Kerning, you can click these Up and Down arrows to increase or decrease the Tracking value, and if you hold the Option or Alt key down, it will increase or decrease them by 1 unit of tracking and if you don't hold the Option key down, it goes in units of 10.
Now, if you totally muck this up, or if you are handed a file that has some unusual amount of Kerning or tracking assigned to it and you don't like how it is, you can start from scratch by going to the Utilities menu and choosing Remove Manual Kerning. That will take all the Kerning and all the tracking out of all the text that you have selected. When you do that, you are seeing the letter spacing exactly as the typeface designer designed it, which may or may not be to your liking. But in most cases, they were carefully considered by the typeface designer.
Well, that's all fine for letter pairs and for the letters within a word. But what if you want to space out the words on a line? In other words, word spacing. To adjust word spacing, you need to learn some secret keyboard shortcuts. They are a little bit different between Mac and Windows but they are incredibly helpful, so you may want to actually write them down. Let's select this text up in this top text-box by pressing Command+A or Ctrl+A. To adjust the word spacing on this string of text, on a Mac, you hold down Command+Ctrl+Shift and then use those bracket keys like we did before.
So this increases word spacing by clicking on the right bracket key and it decreases by pressing on the left bracket key and again, you can reduce the amount that it's changing it by holding down the Option key, and that brings those words together in 1 unit increments rather than 10 unit increments. Now on Windows, the keyboard commands are Ctrl+Shift+Bracket. In other words, the same as the Mac one but without the Command key. If you want to change that word spacing by smaller increments, just add the Alt key.
So Ctrl+Shift+Bracket or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Bracket are going to change the word spacing by 1 unit increments. Now if you want to remove that word spacing, once again you can go up to the Utilities menu and choose Remove Manual Kerning. Unfortunately, that removes all the manual kerning including the word spacing. So just be aware that if you choose that, all of your manual kerning, tracking, and word spacing is going to go away. So that's how you control how letters are in relation to each other left and right. But how about up and down? To move a character up and down, that's called Baseline Shifting.
The baseline is the imaginary line upon which all the characters sit. So by shifting the Baseline, you are actually moving the letter up and down in relation to that Baseline. Let me show you what I mean. Back in PetWorld here, let's say we wanted this E to be up higher. All you have to do is go down to the Measurements palette, and right here in the Character Attributes tab is Baseline Shift. You can shift characters up or down by simply clicking these arrows and it will move them up in 1-point increments.
If that's too much for you, say you are using very small type and you want to move it around, you can hold down the Option or Alt key when you do it and it will move it in one-tenth of a point increments. So we'll just move that up, so that it's floating way up there and this can be handy with one or two characters here and there if you need to move them up or down. But it's also useful if you need to take on entire line of type for some reason and move it up or down in relation to the others in a block of text. If you find yourself doing it a lot, there are keyboard shortcuts for it.
It's just Command+Option+Shift+Plus and Command+Option+Shift+Minus for a Macintosh, and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+0, and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+9 on Windows. In many cases, the arrangement of letters in relation to each other is what determines whether a piece looks like it was professionally designed or designed by an amateur. So mastering these kerning and tracking and baseline shifting techniques is essential when you want your work to appear professional.
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