How to manually change kerning in PowerPoint 2010

When using really large font sizes in PowerPoint the space between some characters might not come out perfect. The area between characters is know as kerning and you can read more about its importance here. The bottom line is, if the kerning is off the text will look funny. So here we will look at one way you can use to adjust the kerning in a large typeset text in PowerPoint.

1. You can see that the space between the first 1 and the 0 is much bigger than between the other characters. This is very noticeable and it feels like the 1 doesn’t belong to the other text.

Bad Kerning

2. Select only the 1. Or the first character before the space you want to adjust.

Highlight First Character

3. Click on the character spacing drop down in the “Font” group on the “Home” tab and choose “More Spacing…”. You can also get to this by clicking on the little icon in the bottom right of the “Font” group to see additional options.

More Spacing Drop Down

4. A dialog box will show up that allows you to change character spacings

Character Spacing Dialog Box

5. There is a drop down menu with 3 options:

  • Normal – This is just the normal spacing
  • Expanded – This is if you want more space between the characters
  • Condensed – This is if you want to reduce the space between characters

Drop Down Alternatives Character Spacing

We will choose “Condensed” since we want less space. Now we must decide by how many points we will reduce the space in the text input box. We experiment with different values and end up with 20.

Condensed By 20

6. And now we have text that has better kerning and is more balanced

Better Kerning

Before-After: Kerning

Kerning is a term used in typography and refers to the spacing between letters. It is different from tracking in that tracking adjusts the space between letters evenly while kerning adjusts the space based on character pairs. In a well-kerned font the space between characters is the same or has similar area.

Sometimes when we make text really big or use certain fonts the kerning will be off and there will be too much (or too little) space between certain characters. Typical character pairs are V & A or W & A but it can be off on others as well.

When bad kerning happens in our text we must adjust it to bring back good balance in the text and increase legibility. Below is an example with a Before and After showing the original text with no adjustment and then the text with adjustments. In this example the kerning issues are on the number 100,000, particularly noticeable between the 1 and the first 0. The space appears much bigger than between the rest of the characters. I also adjusted a bit between the second 0 and the comma. The after shows a much more balanced 100,000. So remember to check your kerning and adjust if necessary.

Before:

Before - No Adjustment Applied

After:

After - Kerning Adjustment Applied

Image Credit: mokra