Adjusting Character Spacing in Word

Microsoft Word contains several options that allow you to adjust the positioning of characters within your text. Not only can you adjust the kerning (spacing) but you can also stretch or compress the letters themselves (scale) as well as moving individual characters up or down relative to the baseline (position).

To adjust character spacing, first select the characters to be adjusted. Next select Font from the Format menu and then select the Character Spacing tab. You will now be able to select all of the adjustments to the character spacing of the selected characters that you require and see the results of the change before you apply it in the preview pane at the bottom of the dialog box.

The top option is Scale where you can adjust the width of the characters. You just select the percentage of normal width to be used. Available values include 200%, 150%, 100%, 90%, 80%, 66%, 50%, and 33%. Of these the ones that you will probably use most often are 100% and 90%.

The next option is Spacing where you can select between normal spacing, condensed, or expanded. When you select to condense or expand the spacing you will then need to enter a value in the By box to indicate how much to compress or expand the spacing by.

The Position option allows you to select between normal, raised, and lowered. With the second and third selections you will also need to specify the amount by which the selected characters are to be raised or lowered.

Checking the Kerning for Fonts checkbox will automatically adjust the spacing between letters through reference to a kerning pairs table that indicates how much space to leave between individual letter combinations. As larger gaps between letters are more noticeable in larger scales you can also set the minimum point size to which the automatic kerning option will apply.

Once you are happy with the spacing of your characters as displayed in the preview pane, click the OK button to apply the change.

 

This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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