Frequently confused with kerning, tracking is the adjustment of space for groups of letters and entire blocks of text. Kerning is concerned with selective space adjustments between pairs of letters, usually in headlines. Tracking adjusts the overall character spacing of any text, especially body text and other large blocks of text.
Tracking can be applied automatically by word processing and page layout software or manually applied to only portions of text to enhance readability, to fit more text in a column, or for special effects.
Use tracking to change the overall appearance and readability of the text, making it more open and airy or more dense. You can use selective tracking to squeeze more characters onto a line to save space or prevent a few words from carrying over to another page or column of text. Tracking can be further adjusted on individual lines or words to improve hyphenation and line endings.
Also Known As: letterspacing | character spacing (may refer to kerning or tracking, depending on the software application)