Sunday, November 28, 2010

Writing Tip : Character spacing for fun and profit

Character spacing for fun and profit


This article explains how and why to use the character-spacing feature in Microsoft Word.
In this tip, we'll see how to adjust the spacing between the individual characters.
Why would you bother with this, though? Well look at the following text:
Normal spacing
This paragraph has normal character spacing.
Notice the single word dangling alone on the last line? This looks unsightly and can be an inconvenience if you're trying to fit your text into a restricted space. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just squash the words together a bit so that the text fit onto four lines instead of five?
Well in Microsoft Word we can do just this. Select the entire paragraph then select the Font... command from the Format menu. Press the Character Spacing tab, and you'll see this dialog:
Character Spacing dialog
From the Spacing pop-up menu select Condensed then use the arrows in the box to the right to enter a value of (say) 0.2. This will tighten up the spacing just enough to push that dangling word up onto the previous line, like so:
Tightened spacing
This paragraph has tightened character spacing.
Of course, you don’t have to tighten the spacing. You can loosen it up, instead, by selecting Expanded from the Spacing menu.

Adjusting the spacing between character in this way is sometimes called adjusting the tracking.

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