Sometimes specific character pairs produce optically bad spacing. For example, the letter pair 'VA' will produce too much white space in between. The following figure shows these characters set using standard widths and using corrected widths. Before electronic typesetting, this effect was achieved by cutting off part of the lead on both character bodies until the proper character distance was achieved; therefore the term kerning.

An unkerned and a kerned word
An unkerned and a kerned word

TYPO supports character pair kerning by specifying width adjustments for character pairs within a font. Two different operations are provided.

Kerning defines a width adjustment (kerning value) whenever the current character is followed by another specific character. The user is first asked to input the character position or name of the following character. A dashed line is displayed which indicates the default position of the following character (zero kerning), and a solid line shows its kerned position. The user determines the kerning value by positioning the following character. Usage of the Typeset facility is recommended while establishing the kerning value for a character pair.

Note that these kerning values belong to the current character and are only added to a font when the character is saved.

The kerning values defined for a particular font can be viewed and updated with the File->Font Edit->Kern command. This commands pop up the kerning window. Moreover, a source font can be specified, from which kerning information can be copied into the current font. If no source font has been specified, the destination font acts also as the source font. An example kerning window is shown in the following figure.

The Kerning Window
The Kerning Window

Each character is shown with its following characters and the corresponding kerning values; each such character/value entry is called a kerning item. Empty font positions are shown in grey. The scroll bar at the right of the window can be used to scroll to other characters in the font; the scroll bar at the bottom can be used if a character has more kerning pairs than fit in a screen.

By pressing the right mouse button, a menu pops up and a command can be chosen from that menu. The Edit->Again key is also applicable in the kerning window; it repeats the last Operations command.

Several of the following commands involve a source and a destination selection. A selection can either be the whole font (the font name is selected), a single character (the character position is selected), or a single kerning pair (that pair is selected).

Kern->Copy Items

If the the source selection is a kerning item, or sequence of such, all these kerning items are copied to the character selected as the destination. If the the source selection is a character, or sequence of such, the kerning items of all these characters are copied to the corresponding characters in the destination font (note that any destination selection is ignored). If the the source selection is the whole source font, all the kerning information from the source font is copied to the destination font. The user is prompted to confirm if any kerning information is overwritten.

Kern->Change Item

The value in the kerning item selected in the destination font can be modified with the Change Item command. The user is prompted for the kerning value (terminated by RETURN or LINE FEED).

Kern->Add Item

A new kerning item is added to the character selected as the destination character with the Add Item command. The following character is specified by the source selection. The user is prompted for the kerning value (terminated by RETURN or LINE FEED).

Kern->Kern Same as

It is sometimes required that two characters kern alike with their following characters. One way to handle this is to copy the kerning information from one character to the other. This strategy has the disadvantage that kerning changes in one character are not reflected in the other. The Kern Same as command makes the destination selection character kern like the model character, selected as the source, by establishing the SAME AS relationship. All future kerning changes made to the model character are automatically reflected to all the characters which are SAME AS the model character. A SAME AS relationship can be deleted with the Unkern commands described below. Note that nested SAME AS relationships (A SAME AS B, B SAME AS C) are not valid (even though no validity check is made by TYPO).


If the destination selection is a kerning item, that item is deleted. If the destination selection is a character, all kerning information in that character is discarded. If the destination selection is a whole font, then the whole destination font gets unkerned. To prevent inadvertent unkerning, the user is prompted to confirm this operation.


Displayable characters are either shown by their ordinals or by their ASCII character representation; the Ordinals/ASCII command flips between these two display modes.

Kern->Exit Kerning

The kerning window can be left with the Exit Kerning command or by pressing the OK button. Pressing Cancel will ignore all the changes made during this File->Font Edit->Kern command.