Type on a path spacing vs. tracking/kerning

Contributor ,
Apr 27, 2021 Apr 27, 2021

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Hi,

How is the Type on a path Spacing option different from Tracking/Kerning for the type on the path? I am referring to a curved path, not a straight path. Is it actually different?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 27, 2021 Apr 27, 2021

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Contributor ,
Apr 27, 2021 Apr 27, 2021

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I had read that prior to writing here. If you can pinpoint where in that Adobe online help it answers my question, please tell me where to look.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 27, 2021 Apr 27, 2021

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I have never seen a more technical explanation of this, so most people will only be able to offer their own deductions.

My deduction is that tracking affects all the text you apply it to, but somehow thw path text settings take into account the path itself and adjust only where necessary. Sometimes this doesn't work and you will have to use custom kerning.

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Contributor ,
Apr 27, 2021 Apr 27, 2021

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Hi Monika,

I didn't see much of an explanation in the article that was quite relevant, except the last paragraph which doesn't explain the difference: "The Spacing value has no effect on characters positioned on straight segments. To change spacing of characters anywhere along the path, select them, and then apply kerning or tracking."

I have not tried to A/B the two. Perhaps that could show if there is any difference. If there is no difference, I wonder what the purpose of Spacing is. It's odd that Spacing is specified in a different unit than kerning/tracking.

Thanks for your insight, I had not thought of the possibility of a piecewise effect.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 27, 2021 Apr 27, 2021

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In my experience the Spacing settings in the Type on a Path options dialog may often be pretty irrational and rather not predictable compared to tracking in the Type palette.

 

You can especially observe it when using high positive or negative spacing values in the Type on a Path dialog.

 

At least in my eyes it is not logically consistent, but I may sometimes be a bit dense, of course.

 

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Contributor ,
Apr 27, 2021 Apr 27, 2021

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Hi Kurt. Actually, the purpose of my question was to decide which one to use. I am also leaning towards kerning/tracking.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 27, 2021 Apr 27, 2021

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Most of the times I would definitely use the tracking settings in the Type palette, Pretzel.

 

They are reliable whereas the settings in the Type on a Path Options dialog may wreak havoc or at least leads to some odd results (do an experiment and choose some values higher than 100 (positive or negative) there).

 

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Contributor ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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One more question about this. If I want to use kerning/tracking to space the characters on the path rather than Type on a Path Spacing, then what value should I set the Type on a Path Spacing to? Default is Auto but this isn't zero. And if I go by Monika's possible explanation of how it functions, then whether it's auto or a set value, that Spacing value may be applied or not, depending on the path's curvature. Is it possible to turn it off?

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