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.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 14, 2013)
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:
Figure 1. The Character Spacing tab of the Font dialog box.
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:
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.
Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!
Monospace fonts allow you to easily achieve a specific "look" with your text or to line up information in a certain way. ...Discover More
When you need to change the font size of a text selection, using the shortcut described in this tip is a great technique. ...Discover More
You don't have to select whole words before applying direct character formatting. With the proper Word options set, ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.