The Affinity Character Panel

Character panel

Go to View > Studio > Character.

The Character panel allows you to apply local formatting to individual letters, words, sentences and paragraphs as well as entire stories.

About the Character panel

The Character panel is unique in providing the ability to:

  • List typefaces within particular collections (including Missing Fonts).
  • Apply double underline or strikethrough as well as controlling their colour independently of text colour.
  • Set kerning and shearing.
  • Apply horizontal and vertical scaling.
Character panel
The Character panel.


 From the Panel Preferences menu, you can access the following option:

  • Show Typography—when selected, displays the language script to be used when applying OpenType rules. Typography options depend on the font having the necessary glyphs to support them.

The following panel options are available:

  • Collection—sets the typefaces which are accessible via the panel. Select from the pop-up menu.
  • Typeface—sets the typeface for the selected text. Select from the pop-up menu.
  • Size—controls the point size of characters.
  • Font—controls which typeface style is applied to the selected text.
  • Font colour—sets the colour of the text. Select from the pop-up panel.
  • Background colour—sets the colour applied behind the selected text (i.e., creating a highlight effect). Select from the pop-up panel.
  • Text Style—allows a character text style to be applied to selected text.


  • Underline—select whether the text has No Underline or a single or double underline.
  • Underline colour—sets the colour of the text underline. If this is set to ‘None’, the underline colour will match the Font’s colour. Select from the pop-up panel.
  • Strikethrough—select whether the text has No Strikethrough or a single or double strikethrough.
  • Strikethrough colour—sets the colour of the text strikethrough. If this is set to ‘None’, the strikethrough colour will match the Font’s colour. Select from the pop-up panel.

Positioning and Transform

  • Kerning—controls the kerning (distance) between characters. Auto will automatically kern characters by default. Positive values give expanded kerning, negative values give condensed kerning. This setting is expressed in permilles, i.e. thousanths of an em space.
  • Tracking—controls the spacing between characters. This setting is expressed in permilles, i.e. thousanths of an em space.
  • Baseline—controls the position of the bottom of text characters. Increasing the value lowers the baseline, decreasing the value raises the baseline.
  • Leading Override—applies local override to selected text to increase the leading with regard to the paragraph’s leading.
  • Shear—controls the extent of text slant. Positive values will tilt text to the left, negative values will tilt text to the right.
  • Horizontal Scale—stretches the characters and spacing width with regard to point size.
  • Vertical Scale—stretches the characters with regard to point size.
  • Subscript/Superscript—aligns the characters slightly above (superscript) or below (subscript) the baseline.
  • No break—tick this checkbox to ensure lines will not be broken at the ends. Soft hyphens will still be honoured.


  • Standard Ligatures—applies any available typeface ligatures to the selected text.
  • Contextual Alternatives—applies any alternative typeface designs available for glyphs depending on their relative position within a word or with respect to neighbouring glyphs.
  • Ordinals—automatically applies a superscript to letters which are part of an ordinal number.
  • Fractions—dynamically converts fractions into a single glyph.
  • Superscript—converts text characters to superscript, i.e. characters are set higher than neighbouring characters and font size is decreased.
  • Subscript—converts text characters to subscript, i.e. characters are set lower than neighbouring characters and font size is decreased.
  • All Caps—displays all selected text as upper case (or small caps, if Small Caps option selected).
  • Small Caps—displays lower case letters as miniature upper case. If using an OpenType font that does not define small-caps characters, normal capitals are scaled down to the appropriate height.
  • Character variants—allows specific character variants within the text.
  • Stylistic Sets—allows you to automatically apply a font’s alternate characters throughout the text.
  • Swash—applies stroke extensions to characters throughout the text.
  • More—provides access to additional typography settings.

LanguageOptical Alignment

Optical Alignment determines how certain characters in your document (for example, punctuation marks or particular letters) will fit in relation to the text frame; this can be used to automatically extend lines beginning or ending with certain characters when text frames are snapped to page margin. Adjust the settings to ensure the characters you choose are aligned to your liking.

Last Updated on August 17, 2021 by @R_A_Chalmers

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