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Formatting text in Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator isn’t only simple, but you can also do it multiple ways. A basic understanding of type components is fundamental to understanding text formatting.

Components of type.
Components of type.
  • Font: A complete set of characters, letters, and symbols of a particular typeface design.

  • X height: The height of type, based on the height of the small x in that type family.

  • Kerning: The space between two letters. Often used for letters in larger type that need to be pulled closer together, such as W i. Kern a little to slide the i in a little closer to the W, maybe even moving into the space occupied by the W. Kerning doesn’t distort the text; it only increases or decreases the space between two letters.

    Before kerning (left) and after (right).
    Before kerning (left) and after (right).
  • Leading: Space between the lines of text.

  • Tracking: The space between multiple letters. Designers like to use this technique to spread out words by increasing the space between letters. Adjusting the tracking doesn’t distort text; it increases or decreases the space between the letters.

    Tracking set at 0 (top) and 300 (bottom).
    Tracking set at 0 (top) and 300 (bottom).

    Pretty good tracking and kerning has already been determined in most fonts. You don’t need to bother with these settings unless you’re tweaking text for a more customized look.

  • Baseline: The line that type sits on. The baseline doesn’t include descenders, type that extends down, like lowercase y and g. You adjust the baseline for trademark signs or mathematical formulas.

    Adjust the baseline for superscript.
    Adjust the baseline for superscript.
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