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  1. #1
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    OneNote: letterspacing, legibility, and fonts

    I'm just starting to use OneNote in Windows 7. I like most aspects of it, but one thing is very irritating: the bizarre letterspacing in all of the fonts that I've tried.

    Calibri, the default font, is worst. Wordspaces are too narrow, and the letterspacing sometimes leaves gaps that are wider than a wordspace, resulting in perfectly correct text that reads like, "The bottom group (blue ) see mto be e ither more specialized or unr ela ted."

    Some other fonts (Arial, Arial Unicode) look better, but I haven't found one that's really legible. And I haven't seen any other application that shares this problem. OneNote must be replacing Windows code that works well with code of its own that works badly.

    Has anyone found a solution for this problem? A generally useful font that is legible, or some sort of tweak?

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    Which version of OneNote? Is it up-to-date with patches?

    Joe

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    I have this problem in Word 2010 on Windows 7 since I turned off ClearType. I might have to turn it back on because otherwise I'm constantly chasing what I think are extra spaces between words.

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    I have never heard of the problem nor encountered it myself, but I have been having fun with Segoe UI (esp. the bold italic for certain purposes) if you'd like to try a font you seem not to have mentioned.

    'I'm constantly chasing what I think are extra spaces between words' is something you should be able to take care of in your proofing settings, isn't it? Word will look after that on-the-fly for you, but not necessarily change the appearance.

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogberry View Post
    'I'm constantly chasing what I think are extra spaces between words' is something you should be able to take care of in your proofing settings, isn't it? Word will look after that on-the-fly for you, but not necessarily change the appearance.
    They aren't actual spaces. They are severe font rendering problems. Very annoying. I don't like "ClearType" or I wouldn't have put up with it this long...

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    >Which version of OneNote?

    How can I tell??? Microsoft's wacky new UI has eliminated the About box. The properties box didn't help either. Apparently OneNote is woven into the fabric of the OS. There's no EXE file, and thus no version information.

    > Is it up-to-date with patches?

    Again, I can't tell. The About box ought to contain this information, except there is no About box.

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    If you have Office 2010 then you have OneNote 2010. You may also go to File | Help for detailed version information.

    As far as up-to-date goes, do you regularly run Windows Update? Have you run it recently?

    Joe

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    Yes, this is in Office 2010.

    As far as updates go, the computer was issued to me by my client's IT department, and updates are entirely under their control. I believe they review Microsoft's updates and push the ones they consider necessary; Windows Update as such isn't accessible to me, and I don't know how I'd find out what updates have/haven't been installed.

    In general they keep on top of things, and I'd expect any security-related update to be installed pretty quickly. Beyond that, I just can't say.

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    Well I can't help you solve the problem, but I can certainly sympathise with you. I have occasionally noticed wacky character spacing as well, and it's very annoying in exactly the way you describe. But I have not tried correlating the problem to a particular font, or even whether the effect shows up more on screen or on printed hard copy. And I don't even use OneNote--I believe it happes with Word.

    So consider yourself in sympathetic company.

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    It suggests to me that either your graphics driver or printer driver needs updating.

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    The problem is on the screen; I haven't tried printing from OneNote (the application's casual attitude toward page size makes that rather impractical), so I don't know if printing is affected or not.

    I tried to update the display driver, but Windows informed me that I have the most current version.

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    First, there is a Microsoft Answers thread on this problem that I have just given you a link you to, and interestingly enough, I don’t think they have the answer yet.

    Second, I take it all back. I have run into your spacing problem before and I just ran into it again. What is more, I can tell you how I got it, and where to look for a solution if it turns out to be the same thing. It is definitely related, but this was in Word and not OneNote (but I believe you can be working in Word inside OneNote). It is almost certainly reproducible, and I invite others to try it. Whoever solves it first can post it to the Microsoft Answers forum as well as posting it here in The Lounge. I haven’t got the time to fool with it today.

    If you do a web search on ‘Office 2010 typography’, you will get a lot of hits. Gabriola is the frilly-dilly 2010 font that has the most to play with of Microsoft fonts (if you care to try it out you can check out the character set using Character Map). Palatino Linotype is conventional and extensive. Anyway, I was experimenting with ligatures with an Adobe Pro font and boom, it hit. A severely conventional sans serif with the hideous letterspacing, which appeared to be incurable, supplanted the elegant serif. To add to the horror, I was at a sizeable point size in order to view the anticipated ligatures.

    In order to put yourself in the same position as I was in, type a bit of text in Word using an OpenType font, click the bottom-right corner arrow in the Font section of the ribbon to get the fly-out, and go to Advanced and fool around with OpenType Features, specifically ‘Ligatures’. Change the setting and try editing your text or adding to it (with all of that stuff open). If you do get the effect, try to figure out what triggers it and let us all in on the secret.

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    I played around with it and learned some interesting things about Word 2010, but I didn't see what you described. First, I can't find any OpenType fonts. Gabriola and Palatino, the two you mentioned, are TrueType on my system. The few fonts that are not TrueType are scalable printer fonts (e.g. Helvetica).

    I don't have any Adobe applications on my box except for Adobe Reader, so I may not have any of the fonts that gave you problems.

    I've long had letterspacing problems in Word, but they're comparatively minor, and they aren't associated with ligatures, or with editing the text when it's in a particular state. Certain letter combinations are separated by a bit too much or too little space, that's all.

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    TrueType Open is apparently the correct term for what I intended. For all practical purposes all current Microsoft *.ttf fonts are TrueType Open, which I think most people refer to as OpenType although *.otf is the Adobe OpenType extension. If you (double) click on a current Microsoft TTF font file to preview it, you will typically see ‘OpenType Layout, Digitally Signed, TrueType Outlines’ in the upper left corner after the font name and version. More simply, in Word or any other application click the arrow beside the font name on the ribbon to show the list of available fonts, and those with a TT symbol before the name are TrueType, and those with the bold italic O symbol are either TrueType Open (TTF) or OpenType (OTF). For present purposes, just pick a font with the O in front.
    If you followed the Windows Answers link you will have noted the subject of font substitution, which may be a significant factor.

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    Word (and some other Office apps) MUST see a fully compatible printer driver to work correctly. Without reference to a printer driver, the layout of the pages (which don't actually exist) will be incorrect. That is why I suggest updating your printer driver. It doesn't matter if you don't have a printer, it is just the driver set as Windows Default that needs to seen. If you have the XPS Document Writer installed, set that as the default.

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