Can we increase the spacing between letters? I noticed this on my user page.

Clock Dock

The link looks like is says "dock" but as the alt-text (and question) shows it should read "clock"

Not sure if it matters but here are the specs:

Windows 8
FireFox 22
1366x768 resolution


I checked it on my desktop as well and it was not as bad.

Clock Dock 2

My desktop specs are:

Windows 7
FireFox 22

For the sake of consistency, I dragged the windows to my second monitor (1366x768) and refreshed the page. It seems to still look alright.

Clock Dock 3

This seems to suggests it is a Windows 8 issue.

  • 1
    I see the same in Chrome 28 on Win 8. Looks like the font has c's kerned very tightly. Aug 17, 2013 at 18:53
  • Firefox 25, Win 7, 1600x900 - Norepro.
    – user98085
    Aug 17, 2013 at 19:19
  • I see some close kerning here, but it's not as bad as your image. It could be the fonts for Windows 8. Using FF 22 on Win7.
    – MBraedley
    Aug 17, 2013 at 19:35
  • 2
    +1 because I spend ages last week in work trying to convince a client that kerning is important and they would not believe me. Seeing this restores my faith in web design
    – shanodin
    Aug 18, 2013 at 4:56
  • I have the same issue of cl looking like a d on Chrome, Windows 8. It's fine on IE10.
    – 3ventic
    Aug 18, 2013 at 8:44
  • 1
    While the root cause may be due to some Microsoft shenanigans, I strongly believe that the correct response is not to simply say "we have no control over it." Just because Microsoft does something dumb doesn't mean we ignore it or make the user solve it; instead, the responsible thing to do is to fix it for them to promote better UX. For this reason I would like for this issue to be looked at again.
    – Schism
    May 19, 2014 at 2:13
  • [status-declined] - Not much the SE team can do with this OS font.
    – Robotnik Mod
    Mar 9, 2022 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


This is your operating system and the site has no control over it. (The reason it looks fine in the question itself is because it's actually a rendered image of text using site fonts rather than actual text, while on your user page it's using your OS's fonts.) This is a known problem with Microsoft ClearType's "snap to pixel grid" kerning policies under certain resolutions. Notice the spacing is also very tight with cea in "placeable", but it doesn't cause a letter-confusion problem (though I think it looks terrible and it has readability issues still).

(This is one reason Macs are still slightly preferred for publishing layout, since the font rendering of the OS sacrifices on-screen sharpness in favour of consistent letter placement between screen and print.)

You can fix this by turning ClearType rendering off in Windows' settings (or if using IE, you must do it in IE's font settings instead/as well), but this will result in a hideous aliasing artefacts in text under other conditions. As an alternative you can try specifying a different default serif font in your browser's settings, which will require some experimentation.

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