Free fonts: Huge default leading (Line Spacing)

nodatalog's picture

I am not a designer. I use as office suite on a Linux distribution (Fedora) and I need advice about fonts with "an above the average" default leading:

Most of the free fonts (SIL license) I have tried have a huge default leading (probably because of the numerous scripts they support, or the designer taste?).

I would like to know if setting a negative leading (e.g. line-spacing proportional=80%, or line-spacing fix=0.45 cm) in the paragraph style is custom practice or not? If it is not, I will search for other fonts with a "regular" default leading (well, I am used to increase the leading with traditional fonts).

Usage: writing reports to print on paper or pdf.

Thanks in advance.

Khaled Hosny's picture

Have you tested with other applications? IIRC, OpenOffice was, erroneously, using the WinAscent/Descent values of the OS/2 table to compute line height, where it should be using the TypoAscent/Descent values. So I think you should reported that as an OpenOffice bug, and use the negative leading if it works for you (I myself stopped using office suites long ago, it is just to fragile and unpredictable for me to use, if I were you, I'd go with some TeX based solution; LaTeX, ConTeXt or even Texinfo depending on your particular needs).

nodatalog's picture

Khaled, thanks for the feedback. I don't use LaTeX. I will search for the OOo bug "OOo uses WinAscent/Decent values of the OS/2 table instead TypoAscent/Descent values". Eventually, I will open one.

I have tried the fonts in Scribus, and the result is the same: The default leading is important. I might contact the font designer. BTW some of the fonts are TeX fonts from Gyre.

Khaled Hosny's picture

I'd try some standard application first, e.g. Gedit, if it gives the same interline spacing, then it likely that how the font is designed, but in professional typography, you always adjust line spacing your self and not relaying on font embedded values.

J. Tillman's picture

Maybe you have already noticed this, but in Charis SIL Compact the "Compact" refers to the leading.

nodatalog's picture

Khaled, good point about Gedit, although it returned (to my eyes and at my screen def.) the same leading value as OOo does. I know about setting the leading, but I was not positive as setting a negative value. Usually the fonts have a minium default leading to increase according to the needs.

J. Tillman, no I did not know that (I thought "compact" was referring to the font with a different "tracking") so, thank you for your information, Charis SIL is one of the fonts in question (the other fonts are tex gyre fonts: Latin modern, Heros (copy of URW nimbus sans L) and Adventor (copy of URW Gothic L).

When I compare these fonts leading with others, their default leading is huge. I was wondering why?

nodatalog's picture

Oh, well, I could have read better...

> Charis SIL Compact (these fonts were created by SIL TypeTuner, by setting the "Line spacing" feature to "Tight", and they cannot be TypeTuned again)

what does mean "they cannot be TypeTuned again"?

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