How is the space at the top of a text field determined? I know it's dependent on the font, but what's the logic.

I can't see a clear relationship between the leading and this space at the top of a text field.

I've included two diagrams to demonstrate this question.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 2
    I think there's something unclear, help us to give a good answer: which program? what's the pointed black line? – user120647 May 13 '18 at 21:49

Leading is the space measured from the baseline to the bottom of the bounding box of the glyphs above.

The possible missing factor here is, when there are multiple lines of type, the visual representation of leading includes both space above the baseline and the bottom of the glyph bounding box for the glyphs themselves. In other words, visually, the full leading size is related to both the space above the line and the bounding box of the glyphs.

In your images there is no line of text above the first line, so really there's only leading applied there, and no bounding area related to the bottom of glyphs. Without a line of type above it, there is no "bottom space" to see, resulting in a visually smaller space.

Really the top line shows only the leading. Add the area for the bounding box which falls below the baseline and you get the same space.

This can be seen merely by checking the difference....

enter image description here

When you overlap the area at the bottom of the text, to show the bottom of the glyph bounding box, the leading visually appears the same as it is between lines.

This is also why, with a single line of type, altering leading has no apparent effect. There is no glyph above to create space between.

Before I fully understood the question.....

As for the general top space as I understand it....

Space (top or bottom) of glyphs is generally provided for other glyphs which contain diacritics or swashes. This is done so that all the base glyph shapes line up.

enter image description here

The actual bounding area for the glyphs can be set to either encompass the entire glyph with "extra" content. Or to sort of "hang it" over the bounding area. Kind of depends on construction of the font itself. The more it "hangs over" the more glyphs may overlap with standard leading values.

A font which does not contain diacritics or other OpenType features may not have this additional space.

  • Thanks. But I'm not sure that explains the relationship between the text-field 'top space' and the leading. In my screenshots above, increasing the leading results in the text-field 'top-space' being either smaller or larger than the leading. Surely the space at the top should be something like - space for glyphs + leading. – Brad May 13 '18 at 20:59

There's something wrong in your question, the leading distance is from baseline to baseline, not to descender lower case character to the ascender character of the next line. This image has two paragraph same font size and same leading, but each font has their own ascender and descender characters design. The top is the wrong leading measuring and the bottom is the right one.

enter image description here

See if the right measuring helps to answer your question.

The top space of each font is called top shoulder and comes from the movable metallic types of the press printing. On the origin it was the safe space of each metallic line of characters to avoid the touching between ascenders and descenders.

  • I've updated the screenshots to reflect baseline leading. – Brad May 13 '18 at 21:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.