Categories
Self-organization

How to change kerning in microsoft word

While using justified text, there are often large spaces between words. WordPerfect allows automatic kerning (letter space) adjustment between settable min & max limits to smooth this out, creating better-looking text. I sorely miss this capability in Word. Will it ever be provided? A Microsoft support person used the Remote Access Session to try to find it in Word, but it is not available.

Replies (6) 

Thank you for raising this concern to our attention. Since the feature is not available in Word application, we highly suggest that you submit this idea to our Word UserVoice page. Our developers will collate and review suggestions and incorporate them into product planning discussions. You can post your feedback through this link.

To notify us and have us get back to you, simply reply to this post.

1 person found this reply helpful

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Word does have a kerning ability, found on the Advanced tab of the Font dialog box:

The option is turned off by default, and you must check the box to turn it on. This is meant primarily for use with large fonts (headings, large signs, and so forth) but you can set the lower limit as you wish.

Kerning isn’t used automatically for justified text. What Word does is compress or expand the spaces between words to create the justification. Older versions of Word used only expanded spaces, which turned out very poor typography; current versions tend to prefer compression. Either automatic or manual hyphenation (found on the Layout ribbon) will also help.

3 people found this reply helpful

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

The kerning available in Word only adjusts spaces between words. If a line contains several very long words, the space between them becomes large and it results in an ugly, ragged-looking text. The Corel WordPerfect program that I used in the past has several nice features that I miss in Words, among them the adjustable kerning. In that program, the kerning automatically adjusts compression/expansion of letter spacing rather than word spacing. The maximum and minimum amount of compression and expansion that is applied is user settable. Very long words are thereby compressed or expanded to fit in or fill up available space on the line. In most cases, it eliminates large gaps between words. It produces smoother looking text. Word should incorporate this feature.

Word does have a kerning ability, found on the Advanced tab of the Font dialog box:

The option is turned off by default, and you must check the box to turn it on. This is meant primarily for use with large fonts (headings, large signs, and so forth) but you can set the lower limit as you wish.

Kerning isn’t used automatically for justified text. What Word does is compress or expand the spaces between words to create the justification. Older versions of Word used only expanded spaces, which turned out very poor typography; current versions tend to prefer compression. Either automatic or manual hyphenation (found on the Layout ribbon) will also help.

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Technically, kerning is not simply condensing the spaces between letters. It reduces the spacing between particular pairs of letters where the overlap doesn’t cause collisions, such as between the T and the A and between the L and the Y in the second line of the following picture:

The spaces between the A and the L or between the two Ls are not affected. This rarely makes any perceptible difference except in large font sizes.

Word does have the ability to condense any selected text. In the picture of the Font dialog in my previous post, you can set the Spacing dropdown to Condensed and enter an amount (in tenths of a point) in the corresponding By box. If a series of long words in your document causes large inter-word gaps, you can select those words and condense them by 0.1 or 0.2 points to try to fix the typography. However, Word won’t do this automatically.

Again, proper use of hyphenation can help more conveniently.

2 people found this reply helpful

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Word does have the ability to “expand” or “condense” text by settable amounts in increments of 0.1 point. (Under “Font – Advanced – Spacing” menu.) Where text looks bad due to large spaces between words, judicious selection of text and manually expanding or condensing those selections can yield a much smooter-appearing text. This is a very labor intensive undertaking when one is dealing with several hundred pages of text, but is highly desirable for literary works, especially for 6 by 9 inch books containg many long words. Expansion up to 0.6 or 0.7 points can be applied without obvious “stretching” of words, and condensing up to 0.4 point looks visually OK.

Hyphenation is often but not always a helpful feature. Automatic expansion and condensing of text as well as word spacing within settable limits would be a very valuable addition to Word. It was available in WordPerfect and produced very nice text without manual effort. It applied expansion or condensing of text apparently based on the word spacing before the feature was applied.

Technically, kerning is not simply condensing the spaces between letters. It reduces the spacing between particular pairs of letters where the overlap doesn’t cause collisions, such as between the T and the A and between the L and the Y in the second line of the following picture:

The spaces between the A and the L or between the two Ls are not affected. This rarely makes any perceptible difference except in large font sizes.

Word does have the ability to condense any selected text. In the picture of the Font dialog in my previous post, you can set the Spacing dropdown to Condensed and enter an amount (in tenths of a point) in the corresponding By box. If a series of long words in your document causes large inter-word gaps, you can select those words and condense them by 0.1 or 0.2 points to try to fix the typography. However, Word won’t do this automatically.

Again, proper use of hyphenation can help more conveniently.

29 January 2021

Here’s how to use the font kerning settings in Microsoft Office, Word and PowerPoint and fix a default setting.

See our short guide to kerning to understand the settings and artistry behind kerning.

Kerning letters makes a difference as the letters get larger so the setting is more important for headings and titles in Word and PowerPoint.

Windows and Mac defaults are wrong

Kerning is available in Word and Powerpoint, Office for Windows and Mac.

But Microsoft has made a strange choice by NOT using kerning on the default heading fonts, which is where kerning would be useful. Headings are usually larger text and that’s when kerning starts fixing strange letter positioning.

Maybe Redmond decided that kerning doesn’t make enough difference with the default ‘Heading n’ styles? That’s true, however users adjust those styles to larger fonts often unware that kerning would give a better result.

Here’s common Arial font without and with kerning.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Font | Advanced

To setup kerning you need the Advanced Font settings. Click on the little arrow on the bottom right of the Home | Font ribbon section.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

In Office for Mac, go to the menu Format | Font or Command + D to open the Font dialog.

In Office, the kerning setting is applied for font sizes higher than a size you specify. At Font | Advanced | Kerning for fonts … points and above.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

A detailed and independent look at Windows 10, especially for Microsoft Office.

Fully up-to-date with coverage of the May 2020 major update of Windows 10.

This 1,000 pages, 40 chapter book shows you important features and details for Windows 10 users.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

This type of setting is very useful because you can ‘set and forget’. It will work when the font size requires it, but you don’t have to worry about Office kerning if you switch to a smaller size.

When to use kerning?

When to use kerning and what size to start using kerning isn’t a simple question.

It partly depends on the font. Fonts have different needs for kerning and older TrueType fonts might be less able to kern properly compared to OpenType fonts.

Size of the font also matters. Smaller/body text doesn’t need kerning, it’s only as the size increases.

The beauty of the ‘Kerning for fonts …. Points and above’ is that you can set a lower limit for kerning then forget about it.

If you want a very broad or rough ‘rule of thumb’, set kerning for 20 points and above.

Styles

The same setting is available for any style under Modify Style | Format | Font | Advanced.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Kerning refers to the adjustment of space between two characters, generally used to improve the visual aesthetics of text. You can change the kerning in Microsoft Word in just a few steps. Here’s how.

Why You Would Want to Adjust Kerning

Each font has its own default kerning. Some fonts work better than others when considering the space between certain letters. Take the word “VASE,” for example. Depending on the font type you’re using, the V and A may fit nicely together…

How to change kerning in microsoft wordArial font.

…or there may be a staggering amount of space between the two letters.

Californian FB font.

This is visually unappealing and could be jarring for your reader. Adjusting the space between the two letters could solve this issue.

Manually Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

Open the Word document and highlight the text that you’d like to adjust the kerning for by clicking and dragging your cursor over the text.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Next, in the “Home” tab, click the small expansion icon in the bottom-right corner of the “Font” group to launch the “Font Dialog Box,” or just press Ctrl+D (Cmd+D on Mac).

How to change kerning in microsoft word

The “Font” window will appear. In the “Advanced” tab, click the box next to “Spacing” to display a list of spacing options. You have three options to choose from:

  • Normal: The default spacing.
  • Expanded: Increase the amount of space between characters.
  • Condensed: Decrease the amount of space between characters.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

We want to bring our letters closer together in this example, so we’ll choose “Condensed.” Once selected, adjust the amount of space to be removed from between the two letters in the “By” box next to the “Spacing” option. To decrease the amount of space between letters, click the down button. Even if you previously selected the condensed spacing option, clicking the up arrow will increase the amount of space between the two letters.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Adjust to the desired amount and then click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

The space between letters will now be adjusted accordingly.

Automatically Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

You can tell Microsoft Word to automatically adjust the kerning for fonts at and above a certain font size. This option only reflects text entered after you enabled the setting. If your Word document already contains text, you’ll need to select all of the text in the Word document (Ctrl+A on Windows or Cmd+A on Mac) before continuing.

Launch the “Font Dialog Box” (Ctrl+D on Windows or Cmd+D on Mac) and, in the “Advance” tab, adjust the “Spacing” settings by clicking the up and down arrow next to the “By” box.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Next, check the box next to “Kerning For Fonts” and then input the font size in the text box to the right that you’d like to apply the rule to. Note that this rule will apply to any text in the document at or above the input font size.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

Google Easter Egg

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Google is full of neat hidden Easter eggs. When you search “kerning” in Google Search, the letters in the word are spaced apart in the search results. Give it a try!

Kerning refers to the adjustment of space between two characters, generally used to improve the visual aesthetics of text. You can change the kerning in Microsoft Word in just a few steps. Here’s how.

Why You Would Want to Adjust Kerning

Each font has its own default kerning. Some fonts work better than others when considering the space between certain letters. Take the word “VASE,” for example. Depending on the font type you’re using, the V and A may fit nicely together…

Arial font.

…or there may be a staggering amount of space between the two letters.

Californian FB font.

This is visually unappealing and could be jarring for your reader. Adjusting the space between the two letters could solve this issue.

Manually Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

Open the Word document and highlight the text that you’d like to adjust the kerning for by clicking and dragging your cursor over the text.

Next, in the “Home” tab, click the small expansion icon in the bottom-right corner of the “Font” group to launch the “Font Dialog Box,” or just press Ctrl+D (Cmd+D on Mac).

The “Font” window will appear. In the “Advanced” tab, click the box next to “Spacing” to display a list of spacing options. You have three options to choose from:

  • Normal: The default spacing.
  • Expanded: Increase the amount of space between characters.
  • Condensed: Decrease the amount of space between characters.

We want to bring our letters closer together in this example, so we’ll choose “Condensed.” Once selected, adjust the amount of space to be removed from between the two letters in the “By” box next to the “Spacing” option. To decrease the amount of space between letters, click the down button. Even if you previously selected the condensed spacing option, clicking the up arrow will increase the amount of space between the two letters.

Adjust to the desired amount and then click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

The space between letters will now be adjusted accordingly.

Automatically Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

You can tell Microsoft Word to automatically adjust the kerning for fonts at and above a certain font size. This option only reflects text entered after you enabled the setting. If your Word document already contains text, you’ll need to select all of the text in the Word document (Ctrl+A on Windows or Cmd+A on Mac) before continuing.

RELATED: How to Control Line and Paragraph Spacing in Microsoft Word

Launch the “Font Dialog Box” (Ctrl+D on Windows or Cmd+D on Mac) and, in the “Advance” tab, adjust the “Spacing” settings by clicking the up and down arrow next to the “By” box.

Next, check the box next to “Kerning For Fonts” and then input the font size in the text box to the right that you’d like to apply the rule to. Note that this rule will apply to any text in the document at or above the input font size.

Click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

Google Easter Egg

Google is full of neat hidden Easter eggs. When you search “kerning” in Google Search, the letters in the word are spaced apart in the search results. Give it a try!

  • › How to Connect a Samsung Galaxy Watch to a New Phone
  • › How to Change Kerning in Microsoft Word
  • › How to Add, Customize, and Use Widgets on Mac
  • › How to Disable the Welcome Experience After Windows 10 Updates
  • › How to Enable 120 Hz on Xbox Series X and S

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Kerning refers to the adjustment of space between two characters, generally used to improve the visual aesthetics of text. You can change the kerning in Microsoft Word in just a few steps. Here’s how.

Why You Would Want to Adjust Kerning

Each font has its own default kerning. Some fonts work better than others when considering the space between certain letters. Take the word “VASE,” for example. Depending on the font type you’re using, the V and A may fit nicely together…

Arial font.

…or there may be a staggering amount of space between the two letters.

Californian FB font.

This is visually unappealing and could be jarring for your reader. Adjusting the space between the two letters could solve this issue.

Manually Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

Open the Word document and highlight the text that you’d like to adjust the kerning for by clicking and dragging your cursor over the text.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Next, in the “Home” tab, click the small expansion icon in the bottom-right corner of the “Font” group to launch the “Font Dialog Box,” or just press Ctrl+D (Cmd+D on Mac).

How to change kerning in microsoft word

The “Font” window will appear. In the “Advanced” tab, click the box next to “Spacing” to display a list of spacing options. You have three options to choose from:

  • Normal: The default spacing.
  • Expanded: Increase the amount of space between characters.
  • Condensed: Decrease the amount of space between characters.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

We want to bring our letters closer together in this example, so we’ll choose “Condensed.” Once selected, adjust the amount of space to be removed from between the two letters in the “By” box next to the “Spacing” option. To decrease the amount of space between letters, click the down button. Even if you previously selected the condensed spacing option, clicking the up arrow will increase the amount of space between the two letters.

Adjust to the desired amount and then click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

The space between letters will now be adjusted accordingly.

Automatically Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

You can tell Microsoft Word to automatically adjust the kerning for fonts at and above a certain font size. This option only reflects text entered after you enabled the setting. If your Word document already contains text, you’ll need to select all of the text in the Word document (Ctrl+A on Windows or Cmd+A on Mac) before continuing.

Launch the “Font Dialog Box” (Ctrl+D on Windows or Cmd+D on Mac) and, in the “Advance” tab, adjust the “Spacing” settings by clicking the up and down arrow next to the “By” box.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Next, check the box next to “Kerning For Fonts” and then input the font size in the text box to the right that you’d like to apply the rule to. Note that this rule will apply to any text in the document at or above the input font size.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

Google Easter Egg

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Google is full of neat hidden Easter eggs. When you search “kerning” in Google Search, the letters in the word are spaced apart in the search results. Give it a try!

While using justified text, there are often large spaces between words. WordPerfect allows automatic kerning (letter space) adjustment between settable min & max limits to smooth this out, creating better-looking text. I sorely miss this capability in Word. Will it ever be provided? A Microsoft support person used the Remote Access Session to try to find it in Word, but it is not available.

Replies (6) 

Thank you for raising this concern to our attention. Since the feature is not available in Word application, we highly suggest that you submit this idea to our Word UserVoice page. Our developers will collate and review suggestions and incorporate them into product planning discussions. You can post your feedback through this link.

To notify us and have us get back to you, simply reply to this post.

1 person found this reply helpful

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Word does have a kerning ability, found on the Advanced tab of the Font dialog box:

The option is turned off by default, and you must check the box to turn it on. This is meant primarily for use with large fonts (headings, large signs, and so forth) but you can set the lower limit as you wish.

Kerning isn’t used automatically for justified text. What Word does is compress or expand the spaces between words to create the justification. Older versions of Word used only expanded spaces, which turned out very poor typography; current versions tend to prefer compression. Either automatic or manual hyphenation (found on the Layout ribbon) will also help.

3 people found this reply helpful

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

The kerning available in Word only adjusts spaces between words. If a line contains several very long words, the space between them becomes large and it results in an ugly, ragged-looking text. The Corel WordPerfect program that I used in the past has several nice features that I miss in Words, among them the adjustable kerning. In that program, the kerning automatically adjusts compression/expansion of letter spacing rather than word spacing. The maximum and minimum amount of compression and expansion that is applied is user settable. Very long words are thereby compressed or expanded to fit in or fill up available space on the line. In most cases, it eliminates large gaps between words. It produces smoother looking text. Word should incorporate this feature.

Word does have a kerning ability, found on the Advanced tab of the Font dialog box:

The option is turned off by default, and you must check the box to turn it on. This is meant primarily for use with large fonts (headings, large signs, and so forth) but you can set the lower limit as you wish.

Kerning isn’t used automatically for justified text. What Word does is compress or expand the spaces between words to create the justification. Older versions of Word used only expanded spaces, which turned out very poor typography; current versions tend to prefer compression. Either automatic or manual hyphenation (found on the Layout ribbon) will also help.

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Technically, kerning is not simply condensing the spaces between letters. It reduces the spacing between particular pairs of letters where the overlap doesn’t cause collisions, such as between the T and the A and between the L and the Y in the second line of the following picture:

The spaces between the A and the L or between the two Ls are not affected. This rarely makes any perceptible difference except in large font sizes.

Word does have the ability to condense any selected text. In the picture of the Font dialog in my previous post, you can set the Spacing dropdown to Condensed and enter an amount (in tenths of a point) in the corresponding By box. If a series of long words in your document causes large inter-word gaps, you can select those words and condense them by 0.1 or 0.2 points to try to fix the typography. However, Word won’t do this automatically.

Again, proper use of hyphenation can help more conveniently.

2 people found this reply helpful

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Word does have the ability to “expand” or “condense” text by settable amounts in increments of 0.1 point. (Under “Font – Advanced – Spacing” menu.) Where text looks bad due to large spaces between words, judicious selection of text and manually expanding or condensing those selections can yield a much smooter-appearing text. This is a very labor intensive undertaking when one is dealing with several hundred pages of text, but is highly desirable for literary works, especially for 6 by 9 inch books containg many long words. Expansion up to 0.6 or 0.7 points can be applied without obvious “stretching” of words, and condensing up to 0.4 point looks visually OK.

Hyphenation is often but not always a helpful feature. Automatic expansion and condensing of text as well as word spacing within settable limits would be a very valuable addition to Word. It was available in WordPerfect and produced very nice text without manual effort. It applied expansion or condensing of text apparently based on the word spacing before the feature was applied.

Technically, kerning is not simply condensing the spaces between letters. It reduces the spacing between particular pairs of letters where the overlap doesn’t cause collisions, such as between the T and the A and between the L and the Y in the second line of the following picture:

The spaces between the A and the L or between the two Ls are not affected. This rarely makes any perceptible difference except in large font sizes.

Word does have the ability to condense any selected text. In the picture of the Font dialog in my previous post, you can set the Spacing dropdown to Condensed and enter an amount (in tenths of a point) in the corresponding By box. If a series of long words in your document causes large inter-word gaps, you can select those words and condense them by 0.1 or 0.2 points to try to fix the typography. However, Word won’t do this automatically.

Again, proper use of hyphenation can help more conveniently.

  • WordPerfect Office
  • Editing and formatting documents
  • Formatting text
  • Changing the spacing between letters and words

Changing the spacing between letters and words

Word and letter spacing adjustments affect the distance between all letters, whether or not they are kerned. You can change the spacing between letters, and between words in fully justified text. In fully justified text, which is text that is aligned on the left and right margins, you can change the space that appears between letters by compressing and expanding the letters to fit on a line.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

This is an example of changing word and letter spacing. The first line represents normal spacing. The second line represents increased spacing.

Kerning is the process of adjusting the space between letter pairs. Certain letter pairs appear to have more space between them than others because of the shape and slant of each letter. Automatic kerning adjusts the distance between all occurrences of certain letter pairs depending on the font used. Large font sizes tend to make the distance between certain letter pairs more obvious. You can enable automatic kerning or use manual kerning in WordPerfect. Manual kerning lets you change the spacing between one instance of a kern pair that you select.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Kerning refers to the adjustment of space between two characters, generally used to improve the visual aesthetics of text. You can change the kerning in Microsoft Word in just a few steps. Here’s how.

Why You Would Want to Adjust Kerning

Each font has its own default kerning. Some fonts work better than others when considering the space between certain letters. Take the word “VASE,” for example. Depending on the font type you’re using, the V and A may fit nicely together…

…or there may be a staggering amount of space between the two letters.

Californian FB font.

This is visually unappealing and could be jarring for your reader. Adjusting the space between the two letters could solve this issue.

Manually Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

Open the Word document and highlight the text that you’d like to adjust the kerning for by clicking and dragging your cursor over the text.

Next, in the “Home” tab, click the small expansion icon in the bottom-right corner of the “Font” group to launch the “Font Dialog Box,” or just press Ctrl+D (Cmd+D on Mac).

How to change kerning in microsoft word

The “Font” window will appear. In the “Advanced” tab, click the box next to “Spacing” to display a list of spacing options. You have three options to choose from:

  • Normal: The default spacing.
  • Expanded: Increase the amount of space between characters.
  • Condensed: Decrease the amount of space between characters.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

We want to bring our letters closer together in this example, so we’ll choose “Condensed.” Once selected, adjust the amount of space to be removed from between the two letters in the “By” box next to the “Spacing” option. To decrease the amount of space between letters, click the down button. Even if you previously selected the condensed spacing option, clicking the up arrow will increase the amount of space between the two letters.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Adjust to the desired amount and then click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

The space between letters will now be adjusted accordingly.

Automatically Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

You can tell Microsoft Word to automatically adjust the kerning for fonts at and above a certain font size. This option only reflects text entered after you enabled the setting. If your Word document already contains text, you’ll need to select all of the text in the Word document (Ctrl+A on Windows or Cmd+A on Mac) before continuing.

Launch the “Font Dialog Box” (Ctrl+D on Windows or Cmd+D on Mac) and, in the “Advance” tab, adjust the “Spacing” settings by clicking the up and down arrow next to the “By” box.

Next, check the box next to “Kerning For Fonts” and then input the font size in the text box to the right that you’d like to apply the rule to. Note that this rule will apply to any text in the document at or above the input font size.

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

Google Easter Egg

How to change kerning in microsoft word

Google is full of neat hidden Easter eggs. When you search “kerning” in Google Search, the letters in the word are spaced apart in the search results. Give it a try!

The formatting process is one aspect of book publishing that can be frustrating for self-publishers, and when that time comes, you need to get it right. The last thing you want is for your book to LOOK like it was self-published. Adobe InDesign is a better program for formatting than Word, but most self-published authors don’t have InDesign and they don’t know how to use it, so they default to Word – which is entirely fine for most books containing largely text, i.e. fiction.

When using Microsoft Word to format your book, it is not uncommon to come across challenges related to the typesetting, especially once you drop your manuscript into a book template. This is when things can get funky and can cause the book to look a little too amateurish. For this blog post, our three areas of focus are kerning, tracking, and leading, which can help improve appearances. Unless you began your writing career on a typewriter, there’s a chance that these terms are new to you. Maybe we can help.

Kerning increases or decreases the spacing between certain pairs of letters. Take the letters AV for example. They look better if their edges overlap slightly. It is not done to whole words or blocks of text.

Tracking is the spacing between characters in a line of text.

Leading is the amount of space between lines in a paragraph.

The instructions that follow are applicable to most versions of Word.

How to change kerning in microsoft wordHow to Adjust Kerning in Word

So you want to adjust kerning. Select the text that you would like to adjust (or apply changes to all text). In the Font menu, select Advanced. In the Character Spacing section, you can choose if you want expanded or condensed kerning, and by how many points. You can also have raised or lowered kerning, and you can apply it to a desired font size. You can choose to have the kerning spacing applied automatically (as is default), or you can manually set the spacing you’d like between characters. The idea with kerning is to create a more visually appealing and balanced look by reducing the spaces between characters that fit together nicely and increasing the spacing between characters that don’t.

Kerning Examples

When kerning is applied, you can see that the “A” fits more snugly against the “V,” creating a more appealing look.

How to Adjust Tracking in Word

Not to be confused with kerning, tracking (basically, letter spacing) refers to the amount of space between a group of letters. It is a uniform adjustment to the spacing of a word or block of text affecting its density and texture.

Tracking Examples

How to change kerning in microsoft word

To adjust the tracking, follow the same basic steps for the automatic kerning, which can be found by accessing the Font menu. Instead of choosing just a pair of characters, select the entire line or block of text that you’d like to have uniform spacing. It can be done automatically by choosing Condensed or Expanded, or you can set your own spacing parameters.

How to Adjust Leading in Word

Leading refers to the distance between lines of text or paragraphs. The term originated in the days of hand-typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted into the forms to increase the vertical distance between lines of type.

To change the line spacing for part of your document, select the paragraphs/section you want to change, and go to the Paragraph menu. In the Spacing option, choose whether you want to change the spacing before or after the selected text. Select what spacing you choose (6 pt., 12 pt., etc.). To make this change to your entire document, simply select all and make go through the same process.

It is always good to look at your manuscript with a critical eye, and make any adjustments that are necessary in order to have a polished and professional final product.

Don’t want to bother with the ins and outs of book formatting? We can do it for you.

Kerning refers to the adjustment of space between two characters, generally used to improve the visual aesthetics of text. You can change the kerning in Microsoft Word in just a few steps. Here’s how.

Why You Would Want to Adjust Kerning

Each font has its own default kerning. Some fonts work better than others when considering the space between certain letters. Take the word “VASE,” for example. Depending on the font type you’re using, the V and A may fit nicely together…

Arial font.

…or there may be a staggering amount of space between the two letters.

Californian FB font.

This is visually unappealing and could be jarring for your reader. Adjusting the space between the two letters could solve this issue.

Manually Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

Open the Word document and highlight the text that you’d like to adjust the kerning for by clicking and dragging your cursor over the text.

Next, in the “Home” tab, click the small expansion icon in the bottom-right corner of the “Font” group to launch the “Font Dialog Box,” or just press Ctrl+D (Cmd+D on Mac).

The “Font” window will appear. In the “Advanced” tab, click the box next to “Spacing” to display a list of spacing options. You have three options to choose from:

  • Normal: The default spacing.
  • Expanded: Increase the amount of space between characters.
  • Condensed: Decrease the amount of space between characters.

We want to bring our letters closer together in this example, so we’ll choose “Condensed.” Once selected, adjust the amount of space to be removed from between the two letters in the “By” box next to the “Spacing” option. To decrease the amount of space between letters, click the down button. Even if you previously selected the condensed spacing option, clicking the up arrow will increase the amount of space between the two letters.

Adjust to the desired amount and then click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

The space between letters will now be adjusted accordingly.

Automatically Adjust Kerning in Microsoft Word

You can tell Microsoft Word to automatically adjust the kerning for fonts at and above a certain font size. This option only reflects text entered after you enabled the setting. If your Word document already contains text, you’ll need to select all of the text in the Word document (Ctrl+A on Windows or Cmd+A on Mac) before continuing.

RELATED: How to Control Line and Paragraph Spacing in Microsoft Word

Launch the “Font Dialog Box” (Ctrl+D on Windows or Cmd+D on Mac) and, in the “Advance” tab, adjust the “Spacing” settings by clicking the up and down arrow next to the “By” box.

Next, check the box next to “Kerning For Fonts” and then input the font size in the text box to the right that you’d like to apply the rule to. Note that this rule will apply to any text in the document at or above the input font size.

Click “OK” in the bottom-right corner of the window to apply the changes.

Google Easter Egg

Google is full of neat hidden Easter eggs. When you search “kerning” in Google Search, the letters in the word are spaced apart in the search results. Give it a try!

  • › How to Connect a Samsung Galaxy Watch to a New Phone
  • › How to Change Kerning in Microsoft Word
  • › How to Add, Customize, and Use Widgets on Mac
  • › How to Disable the Welcome Experience After Windows 10 Updates
  • › How to Enable 120 Hz on Xbox Series X and S