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Hi edferrigan,

I'm sorry to see this, as far as I can tell from your video you are doing nothing wrong. Could you please confirm the font you are using? Is this a system standard font or externally installed?

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Thanks for that, it's a Mac system standard font, but it appears that the issue persists across other fonts, as I've been able to replicate it.
We appreciate you bringing this to our attention, I'll get it logged with our devs.

For the meantime there is a work around. If you set Maximum Letter Spacing (box to the right of Letter Spacing) to 250%, you can now move Desired Letter Spacing to whatever percentage you wish, hope this helps :) 

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Quite possibly I am confused about this (that happens a lot), but it seems to me this is working as intended. That is because if the Maximum Letter Spacing is set to 0% then that should be the maximum limit for the desired spacing, right?

From the Paragraph panel help topic:

  • Desired Letter Spacing—sets the preferred tracking (spacing between letters) within words when a paragraph has a justified alignment.
  • Maximum Letter Spacing—sets the maximum tracking allowed.

Personally, for a one line Artistic text block like in the video, I would just use Tracking in the Character panel for this.


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I've raised this with our dev team due to confusion, to add to this issue you can set the Desired spacing higher than the Maximum on Windows, but not Mac currently.

I believe you to be correct, literally speaking the desired should never be higher than the maximum, but that does not excuse the 'jumping/flashing' numbers when trying to change the desired currently and this could be better shown and explained in the future.

I'll update this thread when I've got an answer from our dev team :)

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27 minutes ago, Dan C said:

I've raised this with our dev team due to confusion ...

Perhaps it would be less confusing if, in addition to the other fixes, the tooltip name was changed to Preferred Letter Spacing?


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5 minutes ago, edferrigan said:

Maybe as a user like me drags the lever the Maximum Letter Spacing automatically moves if its not already set to a higher number.

Just guessing, but I think more than a few users would complain about that because they would not want doing this to change a Maximum Letter Spacing value they had already set & wanted paragraphs to use.


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Like some other things as regards text, having 3 controls in the paragraph to manipulate for letter spacing is ludicrous and doesn't work properly. Never has worked properly as far as I recall. Or, call me stupid because I cannot work out why it does what it does. Tracking should be just that, tracking. It should be available in both the paragraph and character panels and should report the same values regardless of which uses (it's just that one should be a property of a paragraph style--the p.style--and one should be an override--the c.style).

But as text styles are being overhauled, I don't know if this all is one of the planned changes.

For instance, type a two-word line with Artistic text with a space between the two words. Use the paragraph panel and set the Desired to 400%. Note the space between words doesn't change. It should.

Now reset those controls to 0%. Switch to the Character panel. Change the tracking to 400%--you'll need to type in the value. The space properly adjusts.

Just as important, those values should be reflected in both panels.

3 controls? Really? It's a simple function.

Mike "Mr. Cranky"

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Oh, yeah. I forgot one to add at the end of the last post.

When done playing, do the two word thing again. Set the paragraph panel's Desired to 400%.

Now delete your text.

Now create a new line. The 400% is sticky. I really appreciate the help, Serif. But this is one of those things that should not be sticky. It should reset back to the base value of what, 0%? If I want that value to be repeated, I'll create a paragraph style.

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Maybe I have this all wrong but I was under the impression that the 3 min/desired/max controls are intended for greater control of letter spacing in the justified rather than in the aligned text modes. That isn't the same thing as tracking, right?


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R C-R, I believe you are on the right track. The proper context of these settings should be considered different. These are settings that are almost only useful for creating good-looking justified text in a text frame, that means, text that is created with the Frame Text Tool. And since you cannot create proper justified text with the Art Text Tool, why would we need these settings in this instance altogether? Most of them are really useless with Art Text. The only practically useful setting here would be a single word-spacing slider. Everything else is redundant and cumbersome, in my opinion.

In short, I would suggest that these settings should be made context-dependent. When Frame Text is selected, they have a valid purpose. When Art Text is selected, these sliders should be replaced by a single word-spacing slider.

Tracking is the way to go for the purpose of the OP. :)

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7 minutes ago, A_B_C said:

R C-R, I believe you are on the right track.

Is that a pun? :P

(Sorry, I could not resist.)


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These controls have a similar function as the compose text (hyphenation/justification) controls on a desktop publishing app. They are intended to help (manually) format justified on text frames/create consistent text blocks in Designer albeit in a more limited way (to avoid creating rivers/rags and similar text formatting issues).

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30 minutes ago, MEB said:

These controls have a similar function as the compose text (hyphenation/justification) controls on a desktop publishing app. They are intended to help (manually) format justified on text frames/create consistent text blocks in Designer (to avoid creating rivers/rags and similar text formatting issues).

With my limited knowledge of typography, I had never heard of the terms rags & rivers until you mentioned them, although a quick web search explained what they mean. So with that in mind, perhaps the Paragraph panel help topic could be a bit more informative about the intended use for these controls for people like me, or maybe even better would be a video tutorial showing how they can be used?


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1 hour ago, MEB said:

These controls have a similar function as the compose text (hyphenation/justification) controls on a desktop publishing app. They are intended to help (manually) format justified on text frames/create consistent text blocks in Designer albeit in a more limited way (to avoid creating rivers/rags and similar text formatting issues).

And therein lies one of the problems. These controls only partially act like a layout application on Frame Text. The space character is not properly adjusted accordingly as values increase/decrease. As well, those controls really don't have comparable settings to say ID's three controls (which also work on rag-left and, well, has hyphenation).

As regards the Manually bit. The settings can be saved in a text style and applied locally.

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Yes, they are way more limited than a desktop publishing app as i said "albeit in a more limited way", but Designer is not intended to be used/deal with large blocks of text either. It also doesn't offer hyphenation which is mandatory for justified text. It's just a small overlap like the pixel/image editing tools in Designer or the vector based tools in Photo. Affinity Publisher will offer much more control to compose text.

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25 minutes ago, MEB said:

It doesn't even offer hyphenation which is mandatory for justified text.

Well, perhaps not exactly mandatory, but narrow columns of justified text do tend to look pretty awful (more awful than pretty!) without hyphenation.


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59 minutes ago, MEB said:

Yes, they are way more limited than a desktop publishing app as i said "albeit in a more limited way", but Designer is not intended to be used/deal with large blocks of text either. It doesn't even offer hyphenation which is mandatory for justified text. It's just a small overlap like the pixel/image editing tools in Designer or the vector based tools in Photo. Affinity Publisher will offer much more control to compose text.

Yep, I understand the fact of "application overlap" as implemented.

However, it does offer these text controls and so therefore work properly, even with spaces.

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16 minutes ago, MikeW said:

However, it does offer these text controls and so therefore work properly, even with spaces.

Is there perhaps a word missing in that sentence?


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4 minutes ago, R C-R said:

Is there perhaps a word missing in that sentence?

I suspect that “and so therefore” was meant to be “and should therefore”, or some such. Smartphones can be helpful like that! :P


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