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.
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.
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!