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Like this article? We recommend Playing with Type, Part 1: Tracking and Leading

Playing with Type, Part 1: Tracking and Leading

Often, a design will look a little flat based on the typography—we either forget (or don't know about) the simple tricks that can make typography look better. Let's look at some of these techniques.

Click and drag a box onto the canvas. Now we're going to fill this sample box with some dummy text that we can manipulate. I'm a big fan of going to the Lorem 2 website for some sample Latin text. Go to the site, copy some text, and paste it onto the Photoshop page where you're working. Pretty simple, huh?

Here's part of the problem with text: Most of the time when you're working on text, you don't take into consideration that the readability of the text can be influenced by how close the letters are to one another (called tracking) and how far the lines of text are from one another (known as leading). As you're laying out the copy for an ad, select all of the text by pressing Control-A (PC: Ctrl-A). To adjust the tracking of the letters, hold down the Option (PC: Alt) key and press the right- and left-arrow keys to increase and decrease the tracking. You can increase and decrease the leading by using the up- and down-arrow keys with the same modifier keys.

In Figure 5, notice that the different tracking and leading sizes give the two blocks of text completely different feelings. (Some people follow specific rules for how much leading you should have for a particular point size, but I'm a big fan of saying, "Do what you feel is right.")

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