Make the Kerning easier please please please

I m very happy with my switch to Glyphs app but I need/desire/love the ability to manage kerning with a slider (as FL). I understand the precision of input numbers by hand but it double the time for some fonts. Just a suggest!


Don’t the keyboard shortcuts fulfill your needs?

From the tutorials:

Hold down the Ctrl and Opt keys and then adjust the kerning with the left and right arrow keys. Add Shift for increments of 10 […]
You may have noticed that, except for the additional Opt key, these are the same shortcut as for adjusting the left sidebearing of a letter, Ctrl-arrows or Shift-Ctrl-arrows. Being the logical people that we are, adding the Opt key to the RSB spacing shortcut, Cmd-arrows or Shift-Cmd-arrows, should result in manipulating the kerning to the right of the current letter.

I personally have found this way better than a slider, but I acknowledge that everyone has a preferred workflow that might not match the developer intent.

Nico, creo que son usos y costumbres, igual tu atajo ayuda! Gracias

Ale, creo que lo que planteas es una buena oportunidad para que alguien escriba un plugin para hacer aparecer un slider en la pantalla. Como un control adicional. No lo habría pensado.

I agree with Ale, there needs to be something easier. Glyphs, because it’s a standalone application, cannot use simple shortcuts for everything. Four-key shortcut for 10 unit increment kerning is too much, which is why I much prefer doing it with a gaming controller. But ideally, there should be an option for everyone. How about using touch bar for those with new MacBooks as a starter?

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I had the chance to use FLVI’s kerning workflow when I did the 30 day trial. I did like the feeling of sliding the letters around to kern them visually, it felt very intuitive. However, I do not think it was quicker or got me better results. (Fontlab, obviously, also includes keyboard shortcuts for this.)

There is a similar school of thought when it comes to, say, code editors. The time it takes to remove your hands from the keyboard, guide the mouse, and then reset your hands on the keyboard requires less memorization but generally more time. The debate rages on regarding the merits of purely keyboard-based navigation (e.g. Vim) versus mouse-assisted navigation (e.g. Sublime Text). I personally feel that keeping all spacing and kerning on the keyboard with very similar key-combinations makes doing both very easy and I can stay more focused on the task compared to mouse-dragging my letters around.

I do think that a tool like this, still, could be helpful though. A proposal: in the Edit Tab, say we press “K” to switch to the “Kerning” tool. While this tool is focused, we disable the ability to double-click into a glyph for editing as well enable click-hold dragging to adjust kerning values on either left or right. I believe something like this would be better suited as a plug-in rather than an official feature addition… my 2 cents.

The good thing is that we have a plugin interface and everybody is free to write such a plugin :wink: (I’ll help out if needed).

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I’m really tempted to dive into it, just for the sake of it. But i can’t deliver very soon, since currently my piles of work are quite tall. It could be a fancy addition to the Kernkraft suite. How would you like it to behave exactly? I am definitely too lazy to download and install a FontLab, just to see what you think of :smiley:

Using touchbar for Kerning is really nice idea.

I would suggest more application wide support for the touchbar.

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My kern tool (K) wishlist:

  • Click or arrow keys to select cursor position, just like in the text tool.
  • Touch bar, mouse drag, and/or three-finger horizontal scroll to kern in 1 unit increment.
  • Hold Shift key to lock increment in 5 units.
  • Hold Control or Option to change RSB of the left character of the pair.
  • Hold Command to change LSB of the left character of the pair.
  • Two finger scroll to drag the view, as normal.
  • In vertical mode, ideally the scroll gesture direction should also change to vertical.
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You can set your own steps with an app default. Frankly, kerning single units should probably not be the default. I have mine set to 5 and 20.


Yes, that can be set the other way. I myself prefer 5 units increment, but I thought 1 unit as default is consistent with other things.

I updated the kerning tutorial with info about scripts and changing the shortcut increment.

My kerning wish list:

  • A possibility to sort kerning according the values (to quickly identify overkerned pairs or simply check large values easily)

  • An easy way to remove a glyph (or a group of glyphs) from a kerning group while keeping its former kerning values

  • A simple way to find out missing pairs in some masters (I can imagine for instance a small icon in the Kerning window next to the value, or even better: a number of masters having particular pair).

  • A new parameter Copy Kerning from Master XXX (useful for fonts having same metrics but different stylization, eg. stencil, stamp or brush)

There’s a script by @mekkablue to find x-size kerning values. Maybe this helps so long.

Sounds like a simple task for a script, too. Just check the kerning values for each master of each glyph, remove the kerning group and reapply the values. Note, that those values are then glyph to glyph based, so you need to define the context to which glyph this kerning value shall apply. Basically I don’t see a point in removing a glyph from a group and keeping the kerning value exactly because of that fact.

I’m curious: what do you mean with “missing pairs”? Do you mean some kernings are made in one master and not yet in another master? I was actually working on some kind of overview for all masters, but I got stuck timewise. Sometimes I’m unsure if the time and money invested in developing something is worth it or if it will be part of a next GlyphsApp update anyway :smiley:

That should be possible already, just copy everything in the kerning window from one master to another. Ain’t that what you mean?

I think he means something like the Link Metrics parameters, but for kerning.

Hi @Mark, Thanks for the recommendation. I know there are many workarounds or scripts, that’s why I wrote my list of wishes. I prefer straightforward and smart solutions to workarounds.

There’s a script by @mekkablue to find x-size kerning values. Maybe this helps so long. [/quote]
Well, it is, but I miss the option to sort kerning pairs in the Kerning window using one click. Just like FontLab Studio does.

Basically I don’t see a point in removing a glyph from a group and keeping the kerning value exactly because of that fact.[/quote]
First, I copy the values, then I modify the particular pairs I am not happy with. I have a script for that but I prefer built-in solutions. Scripts may stop working one day (change in API) so I would have to pay again for modifying them by the programmer.

Yes. I want to be sure I didn’t skip any crucial pair by accident.

That should be possible already, just copy everything in the kerning window from one master to another. [/quote]

Yes this is a workaround. As @mekkablue writes, I would prefer a Link Kerning parameter. Just like linking metrics.

Ah, I get your points, @filipdesigniq that’s all pretty reasonable :slightly_smiling_face:

If yuh just need to modify some pairs, why not just add some exceptions (by opening the lock)?

Let’s say I have a @v group: v w ẃ ŵ ẅ ẁ y ý ŷ ÿ ỳ. In the process of kerning I realise y and its accented versions should rather be in a separate group. Managing this using exceptions would be extremely time consuming, it is much easier to create new @y group, copy the kerning values and pairs from the @v group and then modify specific pairs.