Proportional spacing refers to the distance between letters of an alphabet based on a font’s width. Fonts with proportional spacing adjust the space between letters according to their shape and size. For example, the letter “I” is narrower than the letter “M,” so proportional spacing ensures that the space between the “I” and the following letter is less than the space between the “M” and the following letter.
Proportional spacing is widely used in text since it is easier to read and looks more natural. In contrast, monospaced fonts have letters that all occupy the same amount of space, which can make text look cramped and awkward.
At this encyclopedia, we default to using a proportional typeface for the text, which makes for a better reading experience. However, the tables are printed in a monospaced font to ensure that each character has a defined width for clarity and consistency.
Is proportional spacing the same as kerning?
No, they are different things. Proportional spacing is a font’s default setting for the space between letters, while kerning refers to adjusting space between specific pairs of letters to improve the overall appearance of the text.
Why are monospaced fonts used in tables?
Tables are often used to display data in a clear and organized way. Using a monospaced font ensures that each character has a defined width, making it easier to read and compare data across rows and columns.
Can I change the spacing in a proportional font?
No, the spacing in a proportional font is determined by the font designer and cannot be easily modified. However, some word processing programs and design software allow for adjusting letter spacing through the kerning feature.
In summary, proportional spacing refers to the distance between letters of an alphabet based on a font’s width, and is widely used in text for its readability and natural look. While the default for text may be proportional, monospaced fonts are still the better choice for tables, where data organization and clarity are key.