What does “Kerning” mean?

I’ve been talking to some friends about fonts and they mentioned the word “Kerning”. What does this mean?

One thing that is used while printing out text is adjusted the size of characters to make them appear closer on a page. This are called variable-width characters. A step up from variable-width characters is called kerning. This means the width of each character is adjusted depending upon the characters to either side. Thus, the characters are shoved together as much as they can.

Why is this done? It tends to make the text on the page look more professional and more can fit on a page. So, for example, if you’re printing something for Texas Maritime lawyers, you really want this to appear the best it can. It is, however, much more difficult for software and hardware to support kerning. In addition, the font software must be very sophisticated.

In general, kerning is done on material that is intended to be printed.

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