Alan Freedman -- The Computer Language Company - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
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A CDE Definition

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In proportional spacing, the tightening of white space between letters to create a visually appealing flow to the text. Due to the slanted vertical lines in two-letter combinations such as AW, WA and TA, kerning reduces the white space between them for a better appearance. See proportional spacing and tracking.

Kerned Characters
Note the vertical red lines. Not only is there no additional white space between the letters, they actually overlap into each other's space. Kerning is not used on monospaced fonts.

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Before/After Your Search Term
Kensington lockKerr effect
Kerckhoffs' lawkey binding
Keretsukey board
Kermitkey cap
kernelkey cap puller
kernel memorykey chain
kernel panickey chain drive
kernel same-page mergingkey click
kernel spacekey command

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