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Trying to use custom fonts with LyX, so I started using XeTeX. Unfortunately, It seems kerning only works with certain OpenType fonts (Linux Libertine) but not for others (Doulos SIL or Charis SIL).

Are there additional settings I have to set up in order for this to work?

Edit: Images from the pdf output (with Linux Libertine and Doulos SIL respectively): Kerning with Linux Libertine No kerning with Doulos SIL

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Kerning is activated by default. If you don't get kerning you either deactivated it somehow (see documentation of fontspec for informations) or your font doesn't have the kerning informations (or use rather small values). –  Ulrike Fischer Feb 11 '12 at 15:20
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Ulrike - I don't think I deactivated it, since I'm simply choosing the font. The moment I switch back, it works OK again. –  nbubis Feb 11 '12 at 16:39
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From this page here: Unicode IPA fonts it appears that the SIL Doulos and Charis fonts have no kerning pairs. (Which isn't too surprising since they were designed primarily as phonetic fonts for which kerning doesn't make a lot of sense.) –  Alan Munn Feb 11 '12 at 22:38
    
Alan - great answer. Want to add this as an answer? –  nbubis Feb 12 '12 at 14:24
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

(This is a combination of my and Ulrike's comments.)

Kerning is activated by default. If you don't get kerning you either deactivated it somehow (see documentation of fontspec for information) or your font doesn't have the kerning information (or uses rather small values).

From this page here: Unicode IPA fonts it appears that the SIL Doulos and Charis fonts have no kerning pairs. This fact isn't too surprising since they were designed primarily as phonetic fonts for which kerning doesn't make a lot of sense.

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Why doesn't kerning make sense for phonetic phonts? –  Seamus Feb 12 '12 at 19:18
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Welp. That was a weird typo. I'm leaving it up there for posterity. –  Seamus Feb 12 '12 at 19:19
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:-) Well for their use in linguistics they are generally used in relatively small stretches of text, (usually individual words) rather than running text meant to be read like a paragraph. And individuation of the particular symbols is more important than nice looking spacing, IMO. The SIL people have released a lot of fonts, and they know quite a bit about what they are doing, so I suspect this decision was either deliberate or at least made a very low priority for these fonts. –  Alan Munn Feb 12 '12 at 19:31
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