According to R. Bringhurst's "The Elements of Typographic Style" (version 3.1, 2004, pp. 190-192), the best justification is achieved by a combination of three methods:
- flexibly altering the space between words (wordspacing)
- flexibly altering the space between letters within words (letterspacing)
- flexibly altering the width of characters (glyph reshaping)
As far as I know, LaTeX uses only wordspacing by default. As for glyph reshaping, there is the
microtype package with the feature font expansion. However, this works only in certain scenarios, e.g. not with XeTeX (which I am using). It also has the disadvantage of distorting the actual letter shape.
My question is regarding letterspacing: Is there any way in LaTeX to make use of elastic letterspacing (altering interletter space) in order to improve justification?
I am aware that the
microtype package supports so-called tracking, i.e. adjusting the letterspacing by a certain amount. However, this appears to be a fixed amount and can therefore not be used for justification purposes.
Update: It seems that opinions are very much divided on whether letterspacing and glyph reshaping are acceptable means for improving justification, see e.g. here for a compilation of differing opinions and here (in Norwegian) for some critical remarks.