Once you've properly spaced your characters, it's time to optimize the spacing around specific pairs of characters.

Ready? So, click on the button Advanced then Kerning.

The kerning view has 3 parts:

  • an editable text preview (the Kerning Pad) at the top - where you can also interactively edit kerning values
  • a live text preview at the bottom left to see the impact of your changes on a set of predefined texts including common kerning pairs
  • a table of kerning values containing all the font's kerning pairs
  • a table of kerning groups

To create and modify kerning pairs, you can interactively move glyphs (the quick way) or edit table values (the precise way).

Quick kerning

First, search for visual misplacements in the left side preview text. 

Once you've found a specific pair of letters that requires custom spacing, type some text in the Kerning Pad to display the kerning pairs you want to adjust visually (you can also copy/paste specific words from the bottom left preview). 

Then click on the second glyph of the pair that needs adjustment and modifiy their relative spacing (the kerning value):

  • You can either click & drag the vertical bar
  • or you can press Left/Right arrow keys on your keyboard (using the Shift + Letf/Right keys will increment values by 10)

This will automatically create or edit the kerning pair and update it to the bottom right kerning table.

Precise kerning

To enter specific kerning values or create a new kerning pair without having to manually interact with a glyph, simply enter the exact characters and values in the kerning table.

All changes will automatically be updated in all previews. 

Just remember to save these changes by reexporting your font (note that it's always worth keeping backup files of different font file versions). 

Quick tip: need to edit a specific kerning pair? Don't scroll the table to find it: just enter the first character in the Filter text field at the bottom right.

Kerning alternates

To adjust the values of any specific alternate, you can either click on a glyph in the Kerning Pad and pick a variant for a visual adjustment, or just enter any character in the Kerning table and pick from the alternates list. 

For alternates that feature similar shapes (like color variants), it is recommended to leverage kerning groups so all the alternates' kerning values are automatically set to match their parent's glyph. 

Kerning import

You can now bring all the kerning pairs & groups from another font file into your current typeface. More details in this article.

Kerning groups

When you need to kern many similar glyphs at once, like A, À , Â  and Á , you can now save much time by linking the kerning values of all accented glyphs to a single one, like the original A

So once you have kerned the two pairs AV and VA , all the other pairs like ÀV, ÂV, ÁV and  , , will be automatically created. How cool is that? 😀

Now how about linking only the left sides of your C , G and Q with the kerning values from your O - but only when it's the second letter of a kerning pair, like VO ?

Well, kerning groups can also be used to constrain a single side of glyphs. For instance, you can link all kerning values related to the left side of the glyph Æ  to the pairs ending with an A, like TA or VA , so you don't have to kern or .

Create kerning groups

The kerning table now contains 2 tabs, one for Pairs and one for Groups.

We recommend to start creating your kerning groups before making kerning pairs in order to avoid duplicate work.

  • A kerning group is created when you assign a specific character (the group master) to the left side or the right side of another glyph, based on their shapes' similarity.
  • A kerning group starts having an impact when you create a new kerning pair (the master pair) that involves the master character.
  • All the group members will then get the same kerning value, and you can view all the sibling pairs that have been generated by clicking on the + sign on the left side of a master pair.

In other words, you can tell Fontself that the left or right side of a glyph should get the same kerning value as another character, thus leading to precise adjustments.

Kerning group exceptions

If you need to apply a different value for a specific kerning pair that is part of a group, you can unlink the value from the master pair by clicking on the lock icon:

Want to learn more? Check these great resources!

Special thanks to Robert Bell for allowing us to showcase his Chromage bold font in the sample screenshots.

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