Comprehensive Kerning List For European Characters


I am reaching out looking for recommendations. I have a document of kerning test words that use the basic letters in the alphabet. However, I was wondering if anybody could point me toward a comprehensive list of kerning test words that make use of European characters (specifically the Central and Western European characters).

Thank you in advance,

You can look at this very comprehensive pair list: GitHub - andre-fuchs/kerning-pairs: The ultimate list of kerning pairs for type designers

But I’m not sure how useful these lists are anymore, today you kind of have to kern everything with everything, lowercase to caps was not really on the radar a while ago and so on. KernKraft can help with generating strings. As for accented characters, you don’t kern them individually, use groups, as long as the shapes are similar.


I’m only concerned with characters that don’t conform to any of my kerning groups on one or both sides (Ð, Ľ, Ł, Ø, Þ). The rest of my accented characters belong to a kerning group and shouldn’t be an issue.

Using the list of pairs isn’t ideal because seeing glyphs used in words is more contextual and helpful. I tried googling “KernKraft,” but nothing related to typography was in the results. Would it be possible to provide me with a link to this resource?

Again, I only need to make sure that the above characters (Ð, Ľ, Ł, Ø, Þ) are accounted for in terms of kerning because they’re the only ones that don’t belong to kerning groups included in the standard, non-accented alphabet. I hope clarifying this is helpful.


Kernkraft is found in the Plugin Manager.

Ok. I just installed the plugin. There were brief instructions in the description but I am still confused. How do I make a kerning list with the needed characters?

Documentation is here: Home · bBoxType/Kernkraft Wiki · GitHub

Screenshot 2023-05-07 at 9.29.26 AM

I don’t know where that came from. The link I posted shows the documentation just fine.

It takes me to a GitHub page. Under “How To Use” it just says “This is coming soon…”. Was it supposed to take me elsewhere?

Perhaps I can ask ChatGPT to generate me a kerning list using the above characters.

It should take you to the documentation (which is dated 2017!). So try this:

  1. Go to the github page for the plugin
  2. At the top of the page there are a series of links; click on “Wiki”

That should work.

That’s exactly where I was. Under “How To Use” it still says “This is coming soon…”.

I extracted the essential info for you, in the zip file.
KernKraft extract.txt (2.7 KB)

I read that and didn’t find it helpful. The documentation is very poor and there isn’t sufficient information about how to use the tool. They tell you that a list can be generated using the tool, however, they don’t tell you in enough detail how to generate one. Moreover, they speak about tabbing and checkboxes without any visual aids to help the user know what it is they’re doing.

Did you get the revised version? I added the rest of the documentation after I first posted it. I agree it is somewhat limited, but I have not tried using it.

If by “revised version” you mean the “Wiki” section of the documentation, yes (still very limited).

Perhaps I could help you help me better by being more clear about what I am trying to do. I have made an all-uppercase font containing all 26 letters of the standard alphabet, numbers, punctuation, symbols, and Western and Central European characters.

Some Western and Central European characters use the same kerning groups as the basic letters. However, I need the European characters that don’t fit any existing group to be correctly kerned. I cannot seem to find a kerning proof that includes the characters that need kerning. Moreover, I wouldn’t know if I found a sufficient one because I don’t know any foreign languages.

You mentioned that you’ve never tried using KernKraft. Under the presumption that you’re a type designer, what do you do to kern European characters that don’t fall into preexisting kerning groups? That’s what I need to do.

The revised version has a 2 in the file name. It is just most of the Wiki; the first version was truncated.

I don’t speak any language other than English and I don’t use any automated means other than kerning groups in Glyphs. I do manual kern pairs as they appear in words, both Latin and Cyrillic, and kern them so they look well-balanced in that word. The unusual European characters get individual treatment as lone kern pairs.

The word lists I use were found in various places on-line, usually made by designers who speak that language. Over time I have merged some of the lists and made changes as suited my workflow.

Wikipedia is a good resource to determine language use of characters. This page, for instance, covers Latin letter information with links to more information.

It’s fairly easy to write a script finding a word with a certain pair of characters from a word list. Then you can make it smart by going through kerning groups in the font. There are also online tools (like this one), but you’ll spend more time copy pasting than writing a script :slight_smile:

You may want to have a look at the pairs list contained in Kern On. You can download the demo, unzip, then Ctrl-click on either of the .glyphsPlugin files, show contents, then you will find a file KernOnGlyphs.glyphsPlugin/Contents/Resources/pair_frequencies.txt

This file contains pairs, sorted by script, then frequency. It was created with extreme care and effort, I anything as thoroughly made exists.

For completeness, Just Another Test Text Generator contains the option to emphasize typical kerning pairs. The information for “typical” is derived from analysing fonts (and texts). You can find the whole data on Github: GitHub - justanotherfoundry/text-generator. This data is nearly 20 years old and was not compiled as thoroughly as the list in Kern On (we are talking about a few working days vs weeks).

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