[scribus] Kerning redux

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Wed Aug 19 20:14:04 CEST 2009

On Wed, 19 Aug 2009 09:04:43 -0700 (PDT)
avox <avox at arcor.de> dijo:

> John Jason Jordan-2 wrote:
> > 
> > On Wed, 19 Aug 2009 14:30:36 +0200
> > Peter Nermander <peter at nermander.se> dijo:
> > 
> >> > Open a new document and create a text frame. Open the Story Editor and
> >> > type a word of half a dozen characters or more. Select two of the
> >> > characters in the middle of the word. Apply kerning, say -10%.

> >> Why do you select two characters? What you want to kern is the space
> >> between them, so just put the cursor between to two characters. No
> >> need to select them.

> > If I do that it kerns nothing.

> In Scribus manual kerning changes the space in front of the selected chars.
> If no char is selected, it should work as if the char behind the cursor is
> selected.

If no character is selected it still kerns nothing. Henry Peters
reports the same thing, but he and I are both using Ubuntu 9.0.4, so
maybe that is why we are getting different results.

However, I have figured out the logic of kerning in Scribus. When you
apply kerning it applies just to the characters selected and affects
their distance from the preceding character only. If you want one
character kerned closer or farther from the *following* character you
select the following character. If you want it kerned closer or farther
from the *preceding* character you select the character. 

Where I went wrong was assuming that Scribus' kerning worked like it
does in other programs that I am familiar with. And now that I
understand, I have to say that the Scribus way is perfectly logical,
perhaps even more logical than the way other programs do it.

I have since figured out a workaround. John Morris suggested selecting
just the diacritical, but that is impossible. I don't understand how it
happens, but when you apply a combining diacritical it gets married to
the character it combines with. You can only select both the character
and its combining diacritical. If it were possible to apply kerning
without a character selected I could type the character, apply kerning,
and then type the combining diacritical, but I must have something
selected or kerning will not apply (see above).

So what I did was type an "l" (one of the problem characters), then a
space, then the combining diacritical - for this exercise I used a ring
below, the diacritical for voiceless in the IPA (U-325). Now the ring
below is combining with the space, not the "l." And strangely, now I
can select either the diacritical or the space. So I kerned the
diacritical to -10% and the space to -47%. Voilà! Ugly typesetting
technique, but perfect results.

Now all I need to do is work out the percentages for the various
characters where I need combining diacriticals, the percentages for the
various diacriticals, and make myself a table that I can prop up next
to my monitor.

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