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How to Adjust Leading in Illustrator

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Read Time: 3 min

In the following tutorial, you'll learn what leading is in typography and how you can set the leading in Illustrator. And if you prefer to follow along with a video tutorial, don't miss this new video from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

Want to learn more about how to work with fonts in Illustrator? Here are more tutorials you can read on the subject:

What You'll Learn in This Illustrator Tutorial

  • What is leading?
  • How to adjust leading in Illustrator

What You'll Need

We'll use the Alma Mono font from Envato Elements to better exemplify leading in Illustrator and learn how to adjust leading in Illustrator.

What Is Leading in Typography?

Leading in typography is the distance measured from the baseline of one line of text to the baseline of the line above it. The baseline is the invisible line on which letters sit.

Here's a complete article you can read for more details:

baseline leading illustratorbaseline leading illustratorbaseline leading illustrator

How to Adjust Leading in Illustrator

To set the leading in Illustrator, you need to go to the Character panel.

You can either go to Window > Type > Character or use the Control-T keyboard shortcut to open this panel. As long as you have some text selected, the Character panel can also be accessed from the control panel. All you have to do is click that underlined Character text, which will open the Character fly-out panel.

Select some text, focus on the Leading box, and edit the existing value to adjust the spacing between your lines of text. Additionally, you can deselect your text and set a leading value for text that you're about to add. By default, the leading is set to Auto, which is 120% of the font size. When the leading is set to Auto, the value appears in parentheses.

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Double-click the Leading icon from the Character panel whenever you wish to quickly change the leading value with the same value that's used for the font size.

font size leading valuefont size leading valuefont size leading value

Alternatively, you can use a keyboard shortcut to adjust leading in Illustrator. Select your text and press Alt-Up Arrow to decrease the leading or Alt-Down Arrow to increase the leading value.

illustrator leading shortcutillustrator leading shortcutillustrator leading shortcut

Finally, you can also set custom leading settings for specific lines of text from a paragraph. Use the Type Tool to select one or more lines of text from a paragraph and adjust the leading value in the Character panel.

illustrator leading text lineillustrator leading text lineillustrator leading text line

Congratulations! You're Done!

Now that you know how to adjust leading in Illustrator, feel free to use the technique in your future projects.

You can find some great sources of inspiration at Envato Elements, with interesting solutions to improve your design portfolio.

Want to Learn More?

We have loads of tutorials on Envato Tuts+, from beginner to intermediate level. Take a look!

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