Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Changing Kerning.

Changing Kerning

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 14, 2013)

6

When a font is designed, a certain amount of space is designated for inter-character spacing. This spacing determines how close adjacent characters are to each other. Unfortunately, not all characters appear the same width when read on a printed page. Depending on the characters, this can cause an illusion that two characters are spaced too far apart, when in reality they follow the standard spacing conventions for the typeface. This problem normally appears when the left character in a pair has a stroke (a line) that travels diagonally from left to right.

Kerning is a typographical term describing the process of moving letters closer together, in an effort to overcome the illusion of too much space between letters. This makes the text both more appealing and more readable. In Word, kerning can be adjusted either automatically or manually. To change kerning automatically, perform the following steps:

  1. Select the text whose kerning you want to adjust.
  2. Choose the Tools option from the Font menu. Word displays the Font dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Character Spacing tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Character Spacing tab of the Font dialog box.

  5. Click on the Kerning for Fonts check box.
  6. Adjust the character point size to indicate when Word should start adjusting kerning.
  7. Click on OK.

In most cases, this type of kerning will be acceptable. There may be instances, however, when you want to manually adjust the kerning between two characters. For instance, you might want to create some special effect for the characters. In these cases you can manually adjust kerning by following these steps:

  1. Select the text whose kerning you want to adjust.
  2. Choose the Tools option from the Font menu. Word displays the Font dialog box.
  3. Display the Character Spacing tab.
  4. Clear the Kerning for Fonts check box.
  5. In the Spacing pull-down list, select Expanded or Condensed, depending on whether you want to move the characters further apart or closer together.
  6. In the By box to the right of the Spacing pull-down list, indicate the amount of space (in points) by which the character spacing should be adjusted.
  7. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1130) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Changing Kerning.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Nothing beats a screen shot when you are trying to convey information about using the computer. With just a couple of easy ...

Discover More

Countering Compressed Columns

If you open a workbook and find that the width of some of your columns has been changed, the discovery can be frustrating. ...

Discover More

Deleting Worksheet Code in a Macro

When creating an application in VBA for others to use, you might want a way for your VBA code to modify or delete other ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Underlining Tabs In Numbered Lists

When Word creates an automatically numbered list, it removes some of your formatting flexibility. One thing you can't seem to ...

Discover More

Embossing Text

Word can make your text look as if it has been embossed on the page.

Discover More

Quickly Increasing Point Size

Want to adjust the size of a text selection? Here's a quick shortcut to increase the size.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 4?

2017-08-31 03:37:53

Thomas

Hello!

I am having a kerning problem that really ticks me off. The issue is that whenever I print (or export) a Word document into a PDF file, kerning of SOME (not ALL) pairs of characters seem to be lost. For example, whenever the letter 'f' is followed by a right quote ', a question mark '?' or a right parenthesis ')', the hook of the 'f' overlaps with them. So I edited the kerning using FontForge and then reinstalled the font, and changed the 'kerning for font' in Word's font tab to 10, and Word displayed them just fine. But when printing it or exporting it into PDF file, the aforesaid 'f' pairs still overlap with each other. A similar problem occurs with the letter 'J' as well.

I tried to google it but couldn't find anything related to this, please help!


2017-01-28 05:35:21

Sajjad Nikatefeh

Pithy and useful.Thanks.


2016-06-08 10:59:48

TL

There is no "FONT" menu in Windows 2013...


2016-04-16 16:37:03

Lynda

Hi there,

I am having a spacing issue I believe this to be the Kerning - I helped a lovely elderly couple with their project on word and after that all of my documents have default set to what their problem was with theirs.

I can't seem to fix this - any help is very much appreciated.


2014-12-20 05:12:53

Nino

Thanks


2014-10-04 09:20:37

FunLearner

Quite Useful......!!!!!!!!


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.