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I wonder what the kerning option of the microtype package does? In the manual it says that kerning=true will give additional kerning. But how? Is this something that has to be specified in addition to activating the option?

I can see no visual difference or any difference in filesize when compiling the two following examples with pdfTeX-1.40.10. Example 1:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage[kerning=true]{microtype}

\begin{document}

\lipsum[1-5]

\end{document}

Example 2:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage[kerning=false]{microtype}

\begin{document}

\lipsum[1-5]

\end{document}
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My opinion is, switch off everything except Character protrusion. Most of the typographers agree, that Font expansion distorts the font. Personally, I see it, and I agree - the distortion is quite visible for the trained reader. Tracking/letterspacing changes the color of the words. It's especially confusing in the Cyrillic typography, where spacing out is used for emphasis instead of italics - soul package. –  Karl Karlsson Jun 15 '11 at 9:20
    
@KarlKarlsson I've asked a question about the greatest value for font expansion for which distortion is not noticeable: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/30949/… –  N.N. Oct 8 '11 at 17:53
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1 Answer

up vote 11 down vote accepted

kerning is not a "true-false" option. Its purpose is to add some kerning independently of the adjacent letters, for example to set the French semicolon that needs a space before it. However it's not working well: for example, the colon requires a normal interword space before and after it, and this space should stretch or shrink along with the other spaces on the same line, which is impossible to get with kerning.

See section 5.4 in the manual of microtype.

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