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How to Tweak Text Spacing and Position in iBooks Author

Print publishing uses four specialized types of typographic formatting that iBooks Author also supports —just choose Format→Font to access these formats through the submenu that appears. The first two formatting controls adjust the spacing between letters, and the second two are more commonly used for meaning and emphasis:

  • Tracking: Also called character spacing, this submenu’s options adjust the space between letters; the options are None, Tighten, and Loosen. The None setting usually works just fine for e-books, but you may adjust tracking due to personal preferences or for visual effect (for example, a popular technique is to put all-cap text labels on colored backgrounds and space out the letters). You can also use the Text inspector to adjust the tracking.

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  • Ligature: The options in this submenu substitute special characters for certain letter sequences that can look awkward when using the standard characters. For example, rather than use the fi letters, a more pleasing presentation is to use the fi ligature. In the fi ligature, which is uncommonly difficult to reproduce on a web page, the i’s dot merges into the f’s curve. The options are None, Use Common, and Use All. The common ligatures are for the letter sequences fi, fl, ffi, and ffl. Some fonts have additional ligatures, such as for st — and some fonts don’t have any ligatures available (usually web fonts such as Georgia and Times New Roman). Furthermore, ligatures aren’t used for text that have loose spacing because the intent is to merge two letters that normally have elements that come very close, so there’s no awkward abutment of those elements. You can turn off ligatures for selected text by using the Remove Ligatures option in the Text inspector’s More pane.

  • Baseline: This submenu’s options provide two types of controls:

    • Superscript and subscript: Reduces the text size and repositions the character (such as for footnotes, physics labels, and mathematical equations)

    • Baseline shift: Raises or lowers the character without changing its size

    In the Baseline submenu, the options are Superscript (you can also press Control+Command+= [equal sign]), Subscript (Control+Command+– [hyphen]), Raise, and Lower. When you raise or lower text, iBooks Author moves it up or down one point at a time. You can also use the Text inspector to adjust the baseline.

  • Capitalization: This submenu lets you change the capitalization of your text. The options are

    • None: Uses whatever capitalization you typed.

    • All Caps: Capitalizes every letter in the selected text.

    • Small Caps: Uses a reduced-size capital letter in place of lowercase letters.

    • Title Case: Capitalizes the first letter of each word.

      Title Case indiscriminately capitalizes all words’ first letters, but most stylebooks recommend capitalizing all nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, but (unless they’re the first or last word in the title) not articles, prepositions, or conjunctions.

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