Problem with bad kerning

This is perhaps not the right forum, but I’m thinking that there might be some setting that I’ve missed. I find the kerning of text in my document rather poor and uneven, almost to the point of distraction where some letters blend slightly into each other. When I export a document and open it in in Word 2008 the kerning is a lot more even and readable. I’ve tried different fonts, sizes, settings and zoom settings, but can’t figure out how to improve it. Is there a setting somewhere or is this simply how Scrivener and Word renders text differently?

Macbook Pro 17 at native 1680 x 1050, OS X 10.5.8, Scrivener 1.51


I’d think that the opposite problem would be more common – Word’s kerning is horrble, IMHO. Have you experienced this bad kerning in other applications like TextEdit?

Is there a particular font or font size that is particularly problematic? Do you have Scrivener’s zoom set to 100%, or is it zoomed in more or less than “actual size”?

Scrivener just uses the Apple Text Engine for rendering, so do you get the same problem if you open it in TextEdit?


Thanks guys, I figured it out. I should have mentioned in my original post that I’m using the zoom set to 150%, because the high native resolution on my laptop screen makes everything hard to read (thank God I don’t have the new Macbook Pro where they crammed in 1920 x 1200 on the same 17" as where I have 1680 x 1050). Now, if I instead set the font size to 20 pt at 100% zoom, the text is readable without the effect of poor kerning. I will have to reformat the document prior to printing and finalizing, but I guess that’s an acceptable tradeoff.

There should be better rendering at zoom settings other than 100%, but if the text engine is not proprietary, then there’s not much to do about that. Remembering the days of highly pixelated renderings in any word processor, ironically one seems to have become rather picky as opposed to content over how good it looks nowadays…

How does TextEdit render the text at 150% zoom? As you note, unfortunately I don’t have much control over rendering as the text engine is Apple’s…

All the best,

As far as I can tell, TextEdit renders it the same at 150%, meaning some of the letters blend into each others. Only Word 2008 seem to handle zooming without changing the kerning. But I don’t want to write in Word so I’ll settle with the workaround of resizing the font. I’m only trying out Scrivener at this time, but I think going to buy, it’s a very well thought out application.


I think you misunderstand Scrivener’s intended use: writing drafts, not producing a finished document. All of us- or, more accurately, almost all of us- “Compile Draft” and export to another word processing program to do the final formatting. Script writers export to Final Draft, or something similar. You don’t have to use Word, of course, but you will need something else. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to go through the Tutorial.

Good luck!


Actually, I don’t, that’s exactly how I intend to use it :slight_smile: I will format everything in Word once it’s finished. But I think that proper kerning is still important while writing a draft. If the letters blend they are harder to read.

Using Scrivener really makes me wonder what the guys creating Word are thinking. It’s powerful in many ways, but for working with notes and multiple documents, something that most people do while writing just about anything, it’s a no show.

I swore off Word for the same reasons, but to be fair, Microsoft caters mainly to business users, who write formulaic boiler-plate letters, memos, and reports. Keith created Scrivener to write fiction; the product snowballed when screen, nonfiction, and scholar writers began to clamor at his door, hungry for a program that respects the process of long-form composition. Good luck with your project.

Too bad though that there’s no PC-version. I sometimes work on a PC and have been testing just about everything there is to try and find an equivalent to Scrivener. There is none. The closes tI’ve got, is Liquid Story Binder, which is a really nice application. It doesn’t quite follow the standard Windows interface guidelines and has almost a mystic appearance. But I still find Scrivener to be the word-processor I keep returning to. I think it would be a hit on the PC platform, considering the competition.

I even tried writing in office OneNote, as the layout and features of OneNote for draft writing are really nice. But there is no way to change the godawful baby blue interface in OneNote (as one can change to silver or black in Word) and for me, looking at that really kills the writing.


Well, after trying it out for the entire trial period, I just bought a license to Scrivener. Great little app I must say, it gets me writing and makes the creative process a whole lot easier. Kudos to the creator(s)!


Creator. Just one. KB. Quite a feat when you think about it.

Thanks for buying, Wirebird, and thanks for the kind words too - much appreciated. I hope it continues to be of use.
All the best,