How to Modify Character Spacing in After Effects

Updated on: October 9, 2022

Whether you are writing the text for static images or typing paragraphs you will later animate, playing with character and line spacing can improve the design of your projects. After Effects, like other Adobe products, also has options to adapt fonts according to your taste beyond the default options that the software offers. As a result, it is possible to change your letters' thickness, height, and width so you can create customized texts. 

That is why this time, we will show you the options that will allow you to modify character spacing in After Effects so you can have freedom when designing texts in your compositions

Knowing the Character panel to modify word and letter spacing

You must activate the Character Panel to change the spacing between characters and lines. If you don't see it in your workspace, click Ctrl + 6 or Cmd + 6 to see each option that will allow you to customize your texts.

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Once that panel is visible, go to the Toolbar, activate the Text tool next to the Pen, and type at least two words for this exercise. Hit Enter to separate them, so one word is on top of the other in the same text layer.

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Steps to modify the line spacing in After Effects

Each typeface installed on your computer has its characteristics. However, it is possible to change specific default parameters thanks to the options in the Character Panel. For example, to change the spacing between two words located on different lines: 

  • Select all the text in your Composition panel by clicking Ctrl + A or Cmd + A so the changes will be successful.
  • In the Character Panel, locate the feature whose icon has the letter A on top of another. It is next to the option to change the size of your font.
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  • Next to that icon, you will see a blue highlighted pixel value generally set to “automatic.” Scroll it to the right or left, and you will see how the two words will get closer and closer to a point where they can overlap.

Another way to alter the spacing between two words on the same layer is to select the word you want to separate from the other and change its baseline. 

To do this, go to the fourth compartment of the Character Panel, and locate the icon below the Vertically Scale option. It shows a capital A next to a lowercase A and an up arrow. Increase or decrease its pixel values to see how the location of that word changes.

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How to change the spacing between characters

If you look closely, below the feature we tested before to change the spacing between two words located on different lines; there is an icon with a letter V and a letter A. That option is the one you will use to change the distance between each of the letters of your words. To do this: 

  • Select the word you want to modify.
  • Increase the blue highlighted value to the right if you want to separate each one of its letters or decrease it to reduce the distance between them.
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  • Set the value to 0 if you want to return to the original spacing.

Tip: Regardless of the spacing you want to apply, always select all the words before modifying the values of the customization options, so the changes are correctly applied.

Andrea Mercado is a tech-focused journalist and copywriter with over 5 years of experience covering innovation, edtech, AI, and internet trends across media outlets. She is passionate about how technology can democratize access to education and is an avid learner when it comes to emerging tech like AI. Her articles and webinars help readers stay informed on the latest tech developments.
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