[scribus] Kerning redux

William F. Maddock billsey at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 20 02:15:54 CEST 2009

On Wed, 2009-08-19 at 11:14 -0700, John Jason Jordan wrote:
> 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.

Not using diacriticals, but I just tested it out on Ubuntu 9.04 with
scribus 1.3.5 and I only had to place the cursor between the two
characters to be kerned (page layout mode, I guess you'd call it; just
not using the story editor), and was then able to adjust the kerning of
the two characters surrounding the cursor. I also noted that, at least
for Aldine 721, the auto-kerning worked just fine.

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