Kerning - Overview

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Kerning is the reducing/ increasing of the space allocated between two glyphs to make them fit more comfortably. Sometimes you want the bearings to be different in special situations. When you want to change the distance between two characters you could use kerning pairs. For example the A and the V could be closer (AV) together than TV.


Not all Operating Systems and applications support kerning. If they don't support kerning they simply ignore the kerning pairs. Many sophisticated word processors and most DTP applications have kerning support.


You can use the Preview toolbar to test the kerning pairs. You can also install the font and use an application that supports kerning.

Tip: Although the Test Font window doesn't support kerning, it does temporarily install the font. The name of the temporarily installed font looks like FC Test Font 012345. So while the Test Font window is open, you will be able to use the font in any application (e.g. Word). However, when you open the Test Font window again you'll have to change the font's name in the application, because the temporary font name always changes.


In Microsoft Office Word select Font from the Format menu and select the Character Spacing tab. There you can turn on kerning in Word by checking the kerning for fonts field.


Note: Kerning in Symbol fonts won't be used in Microsoft Word.


Select Kerning from the Format menu to open the Kerning window. Show or hide the grid and bearing lines, or change the colors from the buttons at the top of the dialog. The advance width of each glyph of the current kerning pair is shown with the side bearing lines.


On the left side you can select a kerning pair from the list of already assigned kerning pairs. Type a letter to go to the first kerning pair using that letter (this is case-sensitive). To change the kerning value use the left/right cursor keys. Hold down Shift to increase the step from 10 funits to 100 funits, hold down Control to reduce the step to 1 funit. To use the mouse, drag the second glyph of the kerning pair to the left or right with the hand cursor. You can also use the scrollbar or change the value in the edit field. Using the scrollbar slider handle moves along in units of 192. Clicking on the scrollbar between slider handle and end arrows moves along in units of 10. Clicking on the end arrows moves along in units of 1.


Use the Import and Export buttons to load and save kerning pair information.

Press the Clean Up button, to remove all kerning pairs that have a kerning value of 0 as well as all pairs that are made up with glyphs that are not connected to the Windows Unicode BMP (UCS-2) platform.

To delete all kerning pairs at once, right-click on the list view and select Delete all or press the Delete All button .


Press the New button to add new kerning pairs. Click the Delete button to remove the selected kerning pair.


Note: According to the official TrueType and OpenType specifications, the maximum number of kerning pairs is 10920, but FontCreator does allow up to 65535 kerning pairs.

See also:

Automatic Kerning