W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > February 2012

Re: [css3-text] letter-spacing at element boundaries

From: Alan Stearns <stearns@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2012 15:49:21 -0800
To: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>, "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
CC: fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CB4F0F81.AF9F%stearns@adobe.com>
On 2/1/12 3:34 PM, "Brad Kemper" <brad.kemper@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Feb 1, 2012, at 7:30 AM, "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 2:01 AM, fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>
>> wrote:
>>> My thinking was that if I had
>>> em<em>phatic</em>ally
>>> and I specified some letter-spacing, would I really expect to get
>>> em p  h  a  t  i  c ally
>>> ? It seemed to me it made more sense for only the characters inside the
>>> <em> to be spaced apart from each other, and certainly not to have a
>>> half-space between some letter pairs and a full space between others.
>> Actually, I think I'd expect that.  I wouldn't expect something like
>> emp h a t i cally, because the p and c in that just look normal.
>> I've no idea whether I'd prefer a full space or half space on the
>> ends, but some sort of additional spacing seems good.
> InDesign let's you select some letters in the middle of a word and apply
> tracking (letter-spacing), and when you do it is only applied between those
> letters, not at the boundaries. So it is more like what fantasai had specced.
> Also, if you add tracking to a whole block of text, it does not add space to
> the very beginning of the first line, nor to the ends of each line. I think
> that is for the best. One can always add padding or padding to the ends to get
> the other effect. It would be more annoying to try to remove it via the right
> amount of negative margin.

It looks to me like letter-spacing and spacing-for-emphasis are really two
different things. Letter spacing when *not* done for emphasis should only
work within the element boundary. As Brad notes, people who use
letter-spacing in English might be surprised and annoyed if it operated
outside the element where it was applied.

But when spacing is used for emphasis there are a set of rules that
Christoph outlined that should apply (and perhaps the rule set is language-
or script-specific?). If spacing-for-emphasis is something CSS should do, I
think it should be a separate property.


Received on Wednesday, 1 February 2012 23:49:52 UTC

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