Kerning between grid of letters

Contributor ,
Aug 26, 2022 Aug 26, 2022

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I have a grid of letters 15x15. I need to use Arial font, and the spacing between the letters must be the same. As you can see in the screenshot below, only when I use the Courier font do the letters space correctly. What can I do to achieve this with any font? (The kerning setting doesn't work.)

 

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Community Expert , Aug 26, 2022 Aug 26, 2022

No need for a script. In InDesign, you can use the Gridify feature to drag out the grid of linked text frames in 5 seconds (press arrow keys while dragging a type tool), type each character followed by a paragraph return, and apply a paragraph style that includes a frame break. That should kick each letter into its own frame, and you don’t have to be careful about the size of each text frame.

 

InDesign Gridify one character per frame.gif

 

The original post needs an arbitrary character in each frame, but if it was an ordered sequence lik

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Community Expert ,
Aug 26, 2022 Aug 26, 2022

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Hi @zvi_t That's an interesting problem. Because Arial has letters with different widths, you won't be able to automate this. You'd have to build individual text boxes and position the letters. InDesign or Illustrator would be a better app for that. If the letters are fixed, and you only need to make one of these, then you could do it in Photoshop, but it's a lot of layers. Do you have to use Photoshop? Maybe others will have more ideas. My screenshot shows the differences between the two.

JainLemos_0-1661531644041.png

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Contributor ,
Aug 26, 2022 Aug 26, 2022

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The letters are fixed, but can be changed; I only need this once as a background. I don't mind doing it in Illustrator, or Photoshop, and exporting it as a PNG.

 

In the screenshot below, not all Courier letters look the same size, unless the spaces around the "I" are part of the font, which would then make them the same size.

 

ApplicationFrameHost_8WRRYGHzEB.png

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Aug 26, 2022 Aug 26, 2022

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Yes, I mean the width of the invisible “box” around each letter in the Unicode character spacing. Glad you only need it once for fixed letters!

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Community Expert ,
Aug 26, 2022 Aug 26, 2022

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@J E L wrote:

Hi @zvi_t That's an interesting problem. Because Arial has letters with different widths, you won't be able to automate this. You'd have to build individual text boxes and position the letters. InDesign or Illustrator would be a better app for that.


 

Correct. In InDesign, another approach would be to lay out all the letters within a table, and center each letter within its table cell.

 


@zvi_t wrote:

As you can see in the screenshot below, only when I use the Courier font do the letters space correctly. What can I do to achieve this with any font? (The kerning setting doesn't work.)


 

Just as background, the majority of professonal fonts are “variable width” because it produces visually superior typography when letters are composed normally (within words, sentences, and paragraphs). Courier is in a much smaller category called “monospace” fonts, which are used when it is required that each letter have the same size box enclosing it. It’s named Courier because that was a common style for typewriters, which were always monospaced.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 26, 2022 Aug 26, 2022

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In InDesign you could possibly write a script to layout a grid of small linked text boxes, each just large enough for one glyph, and then start typing (and that made my head hurt just thinking about it.)

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Community Expert ,
Aug 26, 2022 Aug 26, 2022

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No need for a script. In InDesign, you can use the Gridify feature to drag out the grid of linked text frames in 5 seconds (press arrow keys while dragging a type tool), type each character followed by a paragraph return, and apply a paragraph style that includes a frame break. That should kick each letter into its own frame, and you don’t have to be careful about the size of each text frame.

 

InDesign Gridify one character per frame.gif

 

The original post needs an arbitrary character in each frame, but if it was an ordered sequence like mine, you wouldn’t even need to type any characters…just make sure the paragraph style includes a list attribute (A, B, C…) and it will write out the sequence itself!

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