Leading


Leading
Text set solid vs. text set with added leading

In typography, leading (play /ˈlɛdɪŋ/) refers to the distance between the baselines of successive lines of type. The term originated in the days of hand-typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted into the formes to increase the vertical distance between lines of type. The term is still used in modern page layout software such as QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign

In consumer-oriented word processing software, this concept is usually referred to as "line spacing" or "interline spacing."

Contents

Origins

The word comes from lead strips that were put between set lines. When type was set by hand in printing presses, slugs or strips of lead (reglets) of appropriate thicknesses were inserted between lines of type to add vertical space, to fill available space on the page.

Text set "solid" (no leading) appears cramped, with ascenders almost touching descenders from the previous line. The lack of white space between lines makes it difficult for the eye to track from one line to the next, and hampers readability.

The following block of text has no leading:

Typography (Greek: typos "form", graphein "to write") is the art and technique of setting written subject matter in type using a combination of typeface styles, point sizes, line lengths, line leading, character spacing, and word spacing to produce typeset artwork in physical or digital form.

This block of text set with 50% leading is easier to read:

Typography (Greek: typos "form", graphein "to write") is the art and technique of setting written subject matter in type using a combination of typeface styles, point sizes, line lengths, line leading, character spacing, and word spacing to produce typeset artwork in physical or digital form.

This block of text at 100% leading is harder to read and makes less efficient use of vertical page space:

Typography (Greek: typos "form", graphein "to write") is the art and technique of setting written subject matter in type using a combination of typeface styles, point sizes, line lengths, line leading, character spacing, and word spacing to produce typeset artwork in physical or digital form.

In CSS, leading is implemented by creating a difference between the content height and the value of the line-height property. Half the leading is called the half-leading. User agents center glyphs vertically in an inline box, which adds half-leading on the top and bottom. For example, if a piece of text is '12px' high and the line-height value is '14px', 2pxs of extra space should be added: 1px above and 1px below the letters. (This applies to empty boxes as well, as if the empty box contained an infinitely narrow letter.)

Feathering

The leading may be increased to align the bottom line of text on a page in a process known as feathering,[1] carding, or vertical justification.

See also

  • Interline spacing

References


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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Leading — Lead ing, a. Guiding; directing; controlling; foremost; as, a leading motive; a leading man; a leading example. {Lead ing*ly}, adv. [1913 Webster] {Leading case} (Law), a reported decision which has come to be regarded as settling the law of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • leading — I (guiding) adjective controlling, directing, implicational, implicative, implicatory, inferential, insinuating, insinuative, instructional, instructive, referential, regulating, steering, suggestive, supervising, supervisory associated concepts …   Law dictionary

  • Leading — Lead ing, n. 1. The act of guiding, directing, governing, or enticing; guidance. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. Suggestion; hint; example. [Archaic] Bacon. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Leading —   [engl.], Zeilenabstand …   Universal-Lexikon

  • leading — adj *chief, principal, main, foremost, capital Analogous words: governing, ruling (see GOVERN): conducting, directing, managing, controlling (see CONDUCT vb): prominent, outstanding (see NOTICEABLE): eminent (see FAMOUS): preeminent, *supreme,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • leading — [adj] chief, superior arch, best, champion, dominant, dominating, famous, first, foremost, governing, greatest, headmost, highest, inaugural, initial, main, noted, notorious, number one*, outstanding, popular, preeminent, premier, primary,… …   New thesaurus

  • leading — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ most important or in first place …   English terms dictionary

  • leading — leading1 [led′iŋ] n. 1. a covering or being covered with lead 2. strips or sheets of lead, collectively leading2 [lēd′iŋ] n. the action of one that leads; guidance; direction; leadership adj. 1. that leads; guiding 2. principal; chief …   English World dictionary

  • leading — lead|ing1 W2 [ˈli:dıŋ] adj [only before noun] 1.) best, most important, or most successful ▪ The army played a leading role in organizing the attempted coup. ▪ the leading industrial nations ▪ a leading heart specialist ▪ leading members of the… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • leading — 1. adj. & n. adj. chief; most important. n. guidance, leadership. Phrases and idioms: leading aircraftman the rank above aircraftman in the RAF. leading article a newspaper article giving the editorial opinion. leading counsel the senior… …   Useful english dictionary


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