Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Smushing Text Together.

Smushing Text Together

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 2, 2019)

3

I'll bet you already knew that "smushing" is a technical term, right? It is, I believe, a combination of the words "smashing" and "pushing." In this usage, it simply means to squeeze text together by reducing the distance between characters. Typographers refer to this as kerning.

Normally, each font installed on your system has a default distance between characters. This distance is calculated based on the typeface used and on the way the font designer wants the typeface to appear. There are simply times when it is necessary to push text closer together, however. In order to do that, simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want to condense.
  2. Display the Font dialog box. (The easiest way is to press Ctrl+D.)
  3. Make sure the Character Spacing (Word 2007) or Advanced (Word 2010 or a later version) tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced tab of the Font dialog box.

  5. Using the Spacing drop-down list, choose Condensed.
  6. Using the By control, just to the right of the Spacing drop-down list, specify how much you want your text condensed, in points.
  7. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12462) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Smushing Text Together.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is nine more than 6?

2019-02-05 08:29:18

Sheryl Lucas

Andrew, I stand corrected. I honestly never thought of headlines. When I want to condense text, it's usually to fit a line or paragraph of text into a smaller space.

After reading your response, I tested condensing by 1 point for all of Word's font-size presets from 10 to 72 points. At 14 points, condensing text by a full point begins to be reasonable, albeit a bit tight for my taste. It's better at 18 points. At 48 points, condensing by 2 points is reasonable, and at 72 points, 3 points works.

I think it would be a safe assumption that the overwhelming majority of text typed into Word is in the 10 to 12 point range, where condensing by a full point is far too much. I stand by my original assertion that a default of 1 point is unhelpful. (Interestingly, when clicking the up arrow, the condensing is increased in increments of 0.1 point.)


2019-02-04 09:49:35

Andrew

Sheryl, you're probably not considering about display text (headlines, posters, and such, )which are edited at very large size and where variable letter spacing (kerning) can be essential.


2019-02-02 09:52:57

Sheryl Lucas

I use this feature a good bit. When choosing to condense spacing, Word quite *UNhelpfully* defaults to an increment of 1 pt, which I'm quite confident would never in the history of mankind be appropriate, as it has letters overlapping each other. I always start with 0.1 and bump up a tenth of a point at a time until I get what I want. The most I'll ever go is 0.3, and even that is uncomfortably tight.

Is there a way to change the default to 0.1 instead of 1?


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