Basic Kerning

Kerning changes the spacing between individual characters to make the look better. To understand how kerning works, we first have to understand how the machine places each character in a word. Imagine a box surrounding each individual character. iStamp considers each character to occupy this whole box, then it places a gap between them so they don't touch. usually this works just fine, but sometimes it doesn't look right. Consider an uppercase A and V. Because of the shape of these two letters, it looks like there's a large gap between them, and a smaller gap between other characters. Basic kerning allows us to adjust this gap so that it looks like there's a uniform gap between all characters. Follow these steps to kern letters:

1. Type some sample text into the text editor, for instance: "CARAVAN".
2. Stamp the text on some sample material to see how these letters kern. Notice the Gap between the A and V.
3. Click the Kern button to open the Character Pair Adjustment editor.
4. Make sure you can see both the Character Pairs and iStamp's text editor (you can click and drag the character pairs window around if you need to). Now click in the text editor to put your cursor between the second A and V. In the Character Pairs window, the First Character should be A, and the Second Character should be V.
5. The second character position can be adjusted by changing the values in the numeric fields. These values are always in thousandths of an inch (for example, .001" = 1). For now, just change the Kerning value. Let's move the V .020" closer to the A. in the Kerning field, type "20".
6. Click the close button.
7. Stamp another sample of "CARAVAN".
8. Notice that the V has been moved closer to the A. This makes the whole word shorter.
9. Click the Kern button again.
10. Place your cursor between the V and the third A. The First Character should be V, and the Second Character should be A.
11. Type "20" into the Kerning field.
12. Click the close button.
13. Stamp another sample of "CARAVAN".
14. Now the V and the A to its right have been moved closer together. Again, the whole word is shorter.

Note that positive numbers in the Kerning field move characters CLOSER together. Negative numbers will create a larger gap between character pairs.

Kerning is persistent, so the next time you stamp a word with these two characters in it, they'll be the same. Kerning adjustments can be made for any two characters in a font, and you can make as many kerning changes as you like. In fact, it's recommended that you make kerning changes when you see them. Eventually, you'll find that the font looks better and better, and you won't have to make any more changes.

Two other fields are available in the Character Pairs window under the Position heading. These affect the absolute horizontal and vertical position of the second character. These aren't entirely necessary, but can be useful for making fine adjustments to character pairs, especially if one character is a punctuation mark. Here's how Kerning and Position differ:

- Kerning moves the second character closer or further away from the first character. This changes the overall length of the word. In other words, iStamp changes the gap between the first and second characters.
- Position moves the position of the second character, but doesn't changes the overall length of the word. In other words, iStamp doesn't change the gap between the first and seconds characters, but it changes the position of the second character within the word.