11 Replies Latest reply on Jul 26, 2012 9:46 AM by rob day

# Tracking calculation

I have a spec for a paragraph style that should have Letter Gothic font, 7.5 pt size and 12pt leading. In addition, it is stated as "1/50 em negative letterspacing". What value I have to give in InDesign pagaraphstyle?

• ###### 1. Re: Tracking calculation

InDesign measures tracking in 1/1000 of em increments. (An em is approximately the width of a capital M.) So I believe that 1/50 of an em would be -20 units of tracking. Negative tracking values reduce space, positive tracking values add space.

• ###### 2. Re: Tracking calculation

Thanks for the answer Steve. Is there any formula to calculate this? Because, to have a 3pt letterspacing for a 30pt sized text, we would give 100 tracking using the below calculation:

(Letterspacing X 1000) / font size  =  <ans> tracking.

i.e      (          3           X 1000) /      30      = 100 tracking.

Is that correct?

• ###### 3. Re: Tracking calculation

Lucky Siva wrote:

Is that correct?

No.

"1/50 of an em", where 1 em is 1000 units per definition, equals 1000/50 = 20.

 Huh -- you were confusing me. "Letter spacing" is usually not given in 'added pts', but in em values. Your requirement also didn't state the additional spacing in pts.

• ###### 4. Re: Tracking calculation

Yes I really confused you all. Sorry. Actually I got/understand the answer for the first question I asked.

But, in the next, I am just confirming about the calculation if it is given as letterspacing. That is, sometimes we get the spec as "3pt letterspacing" or so for the heading level. Never mind if still I am confusing. Or correct me if I am wrong.

• ###### 5. Re: Tracking calculation

Steve Werner wrote:

(An em is approximately the width of a capital M.)

How I wish that bit of misinformation would go away. An Em is exactly eqaul to the point size of the type, no matter what that might be. It has absolutley no relationship to the width of the capital M character.

You would not add letterspacing as an absolute value in points because you want it to remain relative to the size of the type. If you change the size of the type from 7.5/12 to 6/11, the calulated -.15 pt at 7.5 pts would be too much at 6 pts and yout text would look bunched up (which it might anyway).

• ###### 6. Re: Tracking calculation

That is, sometimes we get the spec as "3pt letterspacing" or so for the heading level. Never mind if still I am confusing. Or correct me if I am wrong.

You also have to consider what the paragraph's Justifiaction... settings are—letterspacing can be changed there also, so tracking would be on top of that. Here's an exaggeration:

• ###### 7. Re: Tracking calculation

Rob Day wrote:

That is, sometimes we get the spec as "3pt letterspacing" or so for the heading level. Never mind if still I am confusing. Or correct me if I am wrong.

You also have to consider what the paragraph's Justifiaction... settings are—letterspacing can be changed there also, so tracking would be on top of that.

So, what value I have to give in the Letter Spacing boxes for the spec I have mentioned? Is the calculation I have mentioned above not correct?

The first screen shot shows the tracking value using my calculation method. And the second one shows the letterspacing as you have suggested.

Again sorry if I am confusing as I am not that much tech expert.

• ###### 9. Re: Tracking calculation

Ariel,

You're posting blanks again...

• ###### 10. Re: Tracking calculation

I think if you want to do exactly what the spec says, you'll have to

stick to changing the tracking value in the paragraph style definition.

The letter spacing value (in the justification settings) isn't based on

1/1000 of an em, but on a percentage of a regular word space -- at least

that's what I gather from the Help file:

Letter Spacing

The distance between letters, including kerning or tracking values.

Letter Spacing values can range from ‑100% to 500%: at 0%, no space is

added between letters; at 100%, an entire space width is added between

letters

Ariel

PS That's it. From now on I'll be lurking until Adobe/Jive fixes email

access.

• ###### 11. Re: Tracking calculation

So, what value I have to give in the Letter Spacing boxes for the spec I have mentioned? Is the calculation I have mentioned above not correct?

I only mentioned the Justification settings because you should be aware of what they are and understand that tracking is added on top of Justification's letterspacing. If you set desired to 0% and the text is either left or right justified then only the tracking number is used. If the text is justified then the minimum and maximum numbers are mixed in—unless you also set them to 0%.