I've been having some issues kerning in Illustrator.

When I position the text cursor between the pair of letters and kern that letter pair via option+ left arrow , other letters spacing further down the string are effected.

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Here's another test tightening and then loosening the space between the "b" and "r". How come the "u" doesn't move?

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  • 1
    Are you sure its the kerning and not actually the contracting that is negatively affected by the hinted antialiasing of the font. Becasue that is what i see going on.
    – joojaa
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


I see it on some monitors, but to me it merely appears to be a preview update and pixel density rendering issue.

Clearly if you kern something the following glyphs need to shift. On a non-retina, non-4k/5k, display that means the pixel density may not be great enough to show minute changes. So, the glyphs may appear to jump (or not jump) more than may be expected. The preview can only work within the pixel density available. So, if a glyph needs to jump 2 pixels to keep a curve rendered correctly, it will. How great or small that jump appears is entirely dependent upon the monitor capabilities. You may notice that most of the odd movement involves glyphs with curves.

You can toggle to Outline Mode and the issue is less prominent, but often not completely gone. And as stated a higher pixel density monitor will make this seem almost non-existent. Zooming out may also be helpful.

In my opinion, this is one of those things you have to become accustomed to and stop focusing on the latter part of the words if you are kerning a pair. Focus on the pair you are kerning, then adjust later pairs if needed. You can't expect all following glyphs to move in unison when you kern a preceding pair. The monitor pixels are a grid... and can only be drawn and anti-aliased within that grid.

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