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Setting kerning and tracking

From: QuarkXPress 8 Essential Training

Video: Setting kerning and tracking

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.

Setting kerning and tracking

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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This video is part of

Image for QuarkXPress 8 Essential Training
QuarkXPress 8 Essential Training

120 video lessons · 8384 viewers

Jay Nelson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 17s
    1. Welcome
      51s
    2. Using the exercise files
      54s
    3. What is QuarkXPress?
      3m 32s
  2. 39m 1s
    1. Getting started
      2m 26s
    2. Managing files in Quark
      9m 52s
    3. Exploring the QuarkXPress interface
      11m 22s
    4. Restoring, reverting, and undoing
      4m 9s
    5. Navigating your layout
      6m 45s
    6. Adding and moving pages
      4m 27s
  3. 51m 57s
    1. Understanding items and contents
      4m 54s
    2. Making boxes and lines
      6m 32s
    3. Putting text on a path
      8m 48s
    4. Moving and locking items
      1m 44s
    5. Resizing, reshaping, rotating, and flipping items
      2m 33s
    6. Duplicating items
      3m 25s
    7. Deleting items
      1m 49s
    8. Using the Bézier Pen tool
      4m 20s
    9. Converting text to boxes
      2m 4s
    10. Understanding relationships between items
      4m 53s
    11. Merging shapes
      2m 1s
    12. Setting item styles
      5m 13s
    13. Using Item Find/Change
      3m 41s
  4. 30m 55s
    1. Reviewing the Layers palette
      8m 12s
    2. Utilizing guides and rulers
      4m 16s
    3. Understanding Guide Manager Pro
      5m 24s
    4. Using frames, dashes, and stripes
      4m 57s
    5. Setting libraries
      5m 18s
    6. Appending settings
      2m 48s
  5. 39m 57s
    1. Building a new layout
      3m 40s
    2. Creating projects and layouts
      4m 48s
    3. Working with Master Pages
      2m 44s
    4. Creating automatic text boxes
      3m 15s
    5. Working with Master Pages and Layout Pages
      5m 15s
    6. Making pages
      6m 1s
    7. Modifying your pages
      2m 5s
    8. Using automatic page insertion
      2m 44s
    9. Using automatic page numbering and "continued"
      4m 45s
    10. Working with sections and page numbering
      3m 29s
    11. Building with multipage spreads
      1m 11s
  6. 25m 5s
    1. Navigating through a layout
      1m 49s
    2. Selecting text
      4m 41s
    3. Deleting text
      1m 4s
    4. Changing text case
      59s
    5. Importing text
      4m 39s
    6. Exporting text
      2m 52s
    7. Showing invisible characters
      2m 6s
    8. Using the Glyph panel
      4m 27s
    9. Working with ligatures
      2m 28s
  7. 10m 50s
    1. Finding and changing
      6m 3s
    2. Using Spell Check
      4m 47s
  8. 35m 27s
    1. Understanding basic character formatting
      4m 15s
    2. Setting color, shade, and transparency
      2m 36s
    3. Using horizontal and vertical scaling
      3m 55s
    4. Setting kerning and tracking
      7m 38s
    5. Inserting typographic special effects
      7m 53s
    6. Adjusting font preferences and open-type fonts
      5m 32s
    7. Finding a missing font
      3m 38s
  9. 29m 29s
    1. Applying basic paragraph formatting
      3m 10s
    2. Applying leading to paragraphs
      5m 7s
    3. Establishing paragraph rules
      3m 4s
    4. Setting tabs
      6m 14s
    5. Setting hyphenation and justification
      3m 41s
    6. Understanding widow and orphan control
      3m 54s
    7. Working with hanging characters
      4m 19s
  10. 27m 53s
    1. Linking items together
      3m 58s
    2. Learning about style sheets
      1m 52s
    3. Creating style sheets
      3m 57s
    4. Editing style sheets
      4m 24s
    5. Applying styles
      3m 40s
    6. Deleting styles
      2m 7s
    7. Appending styles
      3m 17s
    8. Using grids
      4m 38s
  11. 22m 55s
    1. Building tables
      3m 19s
    2. Importing Excel tables
      3m 13s
    3. Working with tables
      5m 25s
    4. Formatting tables
      2m 50s
    5. Splitting tables with headers and footers
      3m 19s
    6. Adding graphics
      2m 41s
    7. Converting a table to text or a group
      2m 8s
  12. 14m 34s
    1. Building books
      5m 20s
    2. Creating lists
      5m 2s
    3. Building an index
      4m 12s
  13. 23m 18s
    1. Importing pictures
      4m 50s
    2. Working with pictures
      2m 48s
    3. Mastering picture management
      3m 50s
    4. Editing and exporting pictures
      2m 48s
    5. Looking into preview quality and greeking images
      5m 18s
    6. Exporting a page as EPS
      3m 44s
  14. 12m 25s
    1. Working with Photoshop documents
      4m 44s
    2. Understanding the Style menu
      3m 3s
    3. Building picture effects
      4m 38s
  15. 10m 54s
    1. Working with text runaround
      7m 32s
    2. Setting anchored boxes
      3m 22s
  16. 32m 4s
    1. What You See and What You Get
      2m 42s
    2. Describing color
      3m 28s
    3. Specifying color
      7m 13s
    4. Creating color blends
      5m 15s
    5. Setting opacity
      4m 55s
    6. Using color from outside sources
      1m 55s
    7. Understanding color management and proofing
      6m 36s
  17. 15m 8s
    1. Synchronizing items
      3m 11s
    2. Building composition zones
      4m 8s
    3. Working in shared layouts
      2m 25s
    4. Understanding job jackets
      5m 24s
  18. 15m 21s
    1. Collecting for output and exporting
      1m 14s
    2. Adjusting basic printer settings
      3m 39s
    3. Reviewing advanced printer settings
      8m 44s
    4. Establishing print styles
      1m 44s
  19. 16m 10s
    1. Creating and exporting a PDF
      4m 4s
    2. Creating PDF output styles
      1m 44s
    3. Building hyperlinks in interactive PDFs
      4m 23s
    4. Adding bookmarks for interactive PDFs
      5m 59s
  20. 20m 58s
    1. Building a web page
      4m 12s
    2. Inserting hyperlinks in a document
      3m 18s
    3. Creating a form for HTML
      2m 54s
    4. Exporting and importing as HTML
      5m 20s
    5. Building Flash projects
      5m 14s
  21. 6m 15s
    1. Working with XTensions
      3m 2s
    2. Scripting in QuarkXPress 8
      3m 13s
  22. 13s
    1. Goodbye
      13s

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