[scribus] Why scribus lacks letter-spacing? was: how does scribus do justification?

avox avox at arcor.de
Thu Jan 28 18:56:05 CET 2010

Tornóci László-2 wrote:
> ...
> In Scribus 1.3.5 you can set (Properties, Text, Advanced settings): Word 
> Tracking (that's word-spaces) minimal and normal value (I guess this is 
> the mean
Not exactly. Normal is the value that is used if no justification is
minimum is % of normal and maximum is unlimited (that's implicit in
justification algorithms). Allowing stretching AND shrinking of spaces gives
2 break possibilities for each line instead of just one as with th esimple
As you can verify with Scribus the result is quite drastic.

> ), and you can set Glyph extension (that's character width) min 
> and max value. There is no way to set letter-spaces. So we have #1 and 
> #3 but no #2.
> It is well known, that misusing letter-spacing is ugly. Setting it to 
> more than +/- 3-5% from 100% can lead to a change of "color" of the text 
> (the average grey impression of the text when not directly focusing on 
> it). But you can also misuse #1 and #3 as well! There is a wide belief 
> that letter-spacing is from the evil (based in part on the above 
> misquoted opinion of Goudy). I rather believe my eyes. There are lots of 
> examples in the book "J Felici: The Complete Manual of Typography" of 
> the same block of text set with different combination of H&J methods #1, 
> #2 and #3. It is clear, that a combination of these methods gives the 
> best results if used properly. I simply don't believe anyone can spot 3% 
> letter-spacing.
So you would be content if letter spacing was limited to +/- 5% ?

But what is the base value? Normal letter spacing is 0pt, so we can't
base it on that (well, in fact we already do ;-) )
You mean +/- 5% of the character width? Or +/- 5% of a given character, e.g.
'M' ?

Give me a definition and I might be inclined to implement that.

> So my humble request for the developers: PLEASE, AT LEAST CONSIDER 
> including the ability to change letter-spacing. You don't get as much 
> flexibility with it as with #1 and #3, but it is useful. I think Scribus 
> should be the best layout program, and this is a useful feature.
> I understand the implications: the H&J algorithm becomes more 
> complicated, possibly slower, but I still think it should be implemented.
No, that would be a small, well contained change. I dont think it would make
a difference in spsed, either.

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