Kerning, spacing, and other text tricks in inkscape

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Inkscape has a lot of nice built-in features for quickly editing text and font. We'll go over these as well as a few neat tricks to really get the most from your text.

1. Text and Font

Step 1

If you haven't already, head up to Text > Text and Font to bring up this dialog box. It's simple and straight to the point.

Step 2

I'll be honest though. I rarely ever open up that dialog box because as long as you have some text selected, you'll get everything you need in the text toolbar. So go ahead and type some text and let's get started!

2. Spacing and Kerning

Step 1

Below, I put a -12.00 letter spacing on my text to achieve this result. It simply increases/decreases the spacing between all of the letters.

Step 2

On the other hand, kerning adjusts the letter spacing only between the letters you've selected. What I've done below is click in between "INK" and "SCAPE". Then I just set the horizontal kerning to 20.00. Easy enough, right?

Step 3

But wait, now you've gone kern crazy and messed up your precious text. Not to fear, because Text > Remove Manual Kerns is here! Just give it a click and you'll be as good as new. (This doesn't remove spacing, just kerning.)

Step 4

And of course, we can't forget about word spacing, which is exactly what it sounds like. If you've got a whole sentence, then spacing between words may be what you need. I've set mine to 8.00 and it seems to always give text a more epic look.

3. Shift and Rotation

Step 1

First up, we have vertical shift. It works the same was as kerning does, except it moves the letter up or down. Below, you'll see that I couldn't resist using Hollywood as an example, but I just went through each letter and assigned different vertical shift values. It actually looks pretty neat though!

Step 2

Character rotation is equally neat. By increasing/decreasing the value, you can effectively tilt individual letters in a text object. Again, I went through each letter and adjusted the rotation to come up with something like this.

It's also worth noting that character rotation will totally mess up letter spacing, so you'll almost certainly have to go through each letter afterwards and adjust horizontal kerning to get it to look right.

4. Path Effect Editor

Step 1

That's right, after you Path > Object to Path your text object, you can go to Path > Path Effect Editor to really customize your text. I'm going to apply a Bend effect and click Edit on canvas.

Step 2

Then this nifty line pops up and we can manipulate it like a regular path! Neat, huh?

Step 3

Or perhaps Envelope Deformation is more up your alley! The possibilities are endless.

Text Modifications Made Easy!

We went over the basics of text design along with introducing the endless possibilities from the Path Effect Editor. Hopefully you learned a few tips on how to make your text design unique and effective. Thanks for reading!

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