Character Spacing in Word

By | 9th April 2015

How-to-change-character-spacing-in-WordChanging the default character spacing in Word is not something many people know about, or in fact, need. In most Word documents the spacing between characters is correct and there is no need to change the character spacing, but occasionally, you may want to fit more or possibly less text on a line.

In typography, the spacing between letters in Word is known as “kerning.” Kerning is used to distribute the characters in a word for the most pleasing visual result. Some letters, e.g. upper case W, will leave a large void around them, and when combined with other letters can look unbalanced.

If you imagine the word WAR without any kerning, the W and the A will both be spaced individually making them appear too far apart compared to the R.

The best compromise is to place the letters W and A closer to each other as their sloping lines will fit more easily and make the word look better to the human eye.

Kerning in Word-Processing

Kerning in Word is automatically taken care of in any of Microsoft Word’s True Type and Open Type fonts which can be identified by the O and the TT symbols in the font drop-down list:

Character spacing in WordHowever, if you want to manually change this kerning in Word. you can still do so, even in Word 2013. You might want to do this can be for several reasons – to create a special effect for a heading in a document or to space the text out for aesthetic reasons – but whatever the reason, the process is the same.

How to change the Character Spacing in Word

  1. Start by selecting the text you wish to change, then open the Font dialog box either by clicking on the dialog box launcher for the Font group on the Home tab of the ribbon, or by pressing Ctrl + D:

Change the character spacingThe Font dialogue box will be displayed

  1. If it is not already selected, click on the Advanced tab in Word 2013
  2. Under the Character Spacing group, click on the Spacing box, and choose either Expanded or Condensed
  3. In the By box, either accept the default of 1pt, or use the up and down spinners to increase or decrease the amount in points. Alternatively, you could change character spacing by typing a value in this box
  4. Although the change in character spacing in Word does not take place in real time, a preview window lets you can see the effect your actions are having
  5. When you are happy with the effect, click on the OK button to save the changes.

 For more information on character spacing in Word and other typography tips see our Word course outline

Visit our online school for extra tips on kerning in Word

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