How to Kern text in photoshop

Kerning is the process of changing the amount of white space in-between letters. This technique should be used when creating any graphics with a large heading or a logo. With experience you may find the white space simply glares out at you in between the letters meaning that you are able to adjust the kerning easily by eye.

To change the kerning in Photoshop using the Character Panel:

In the image below, the top lettering is the original and the bottom orange lettering will be changed.

kerning

kerning

Click with the cursor between the two letters (into the white space that you want to change). In this case I want to reduce the white space between the ‘K’ and the ‘e’ .

select the space you want to change

select the space you want to change

Open the Character Panel if it’s not already open by going to Window > Character

character panel

character panel

Find the area with the AV icon on the left and choose a value from the drop down menu. I have used -50 on this particular area of white space.

change kerning value

change kerning value

top 0, bottom -50

top 0, bottom -50

Change the kerning using short cuts:

A quicker way to do this if you can reme

mber the keyboard shortcuts is to click with the cursor between the two letters (into the white space that you want to change).

Press the alt key and use the left and right cursor keys to close and widen the gap between the 2 letters.

Below is a before and after picture, you will see there is only a minute change between the 2, but you will notice that the 2nd reads better and would also display better especially if you are using it on some type that will be displayed at a large size or on a logo.

smaller space

smaller space

Auto adjust the kerning:

To auto adjust the kerning, select the range of letters you want to Kern. In the kerning drop down menu select ‘Optical’. This will automatically adjust the lettering based on the shapes of the letters.

select all

select all

change to optical

change to optical

Kerning should not be confused with Tracking.

hannah

Author: hannah

Hannah works as a website designer for a digital agency based in the UK. She has over 15 years experience using Photoshop and has been using it daily since 2005. Google+

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6 Comments

  1. thank you

  2. hannah

    you’re welcome :)

  3. great tutorial, super easy to follow and very helpful!! THANK YOU!

  4. hannah

    You are welcome :) thanks for your comment

  5. Thanks so much! This is so helpful to know. Before I would just start a different text layer so that I had control over the spacing between letters.

  6. Thank you very much for the article!!

    Any way to adjust the kerning in the TTF file? For instance, in my particular font, it looks very good but the spacing is very wrong for dashes.

    Thanks.

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