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How to add spacing between letters in text

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Fully updated for Xcode 11 GM

SwiftUI gives us two modifiers to control the spacing of characters inside a text view, allowing us to make the letters spaced more tightly or further apart depending on your needs.

The two modifiers are tracking() and kerning(): both add spacing between letters, but tracking will pull apart ligatures whereas kerning will not, and kerning will leave some trailing whitespace whereas tracking will not.

So, this adds 20 points of tracking to “Hello World”, which will space the letters out a fair amount:

Text("Hello World")
    .tracking(20)

If you want to really see how kerning and tracking are different, try this:

VStack {
    Text("ffi")
        .font(.custom("AmericanTypewriter", size: 72))
        .kerning(50)
    Text("ffi")
        .font(.custom("AmericanTypewriter", size: 72))
        .tracking(50)
}

That uses the text string “ffi” in American Typewriter, which has a ligature making the letter combination look better. Because tracking pulls ligatures apart and kerning does not, the first text will look like “f fi” and the second will look like “f f i”.

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