[texhax] units for tracking (was Re: Book Antiqua)

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Tue May 23 18:52:58 CEST 2006

On May 23, 2006, at 12:26 PM, pierre.mackay wrote:

> Your mention of the Monotype unit leads me to ask you as someone  
> who is likely to know.  I have a macro for letterspacing in titles  
> that I wrote when that was still expressed in Monotype units.  Then  
> I had to translate it into Quark units, and now it is expressed as  
> Track 10, which I guess is the same as a Monotype unit, because the  
> designer hasn't complained.  Can you give me a reference to  
> something that would translate back and forth from Monotype units  
> to Quark units to Track numbers?  I should be very grateful.

``Monotype Units'' were more likely 1/18em. Metal type was designed  
to a unit system, originally dividing an em into 18ths. Later the  
granularity was tripled to 1/54em, which was carried forward to the  
various phototype systems for compatibility's sake.

Quark tracking values are done in 1/200 of an em, so 10 inserts  
1/20th of an em between each character so formatted, which isn't too  
far from 1/18th of an em.

For the record, InDesign tracks in 1/1000 of an em units, so you need  
to multiple Quark values by 5 to get an equivalent (which may vary  
somewhat depending on whether or no optical kerning &c. are turned on).


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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