Re: leading

Bert Bos (
Mon, 31 Jul 1995 15:43:07 +0200 (METDST)

Paul Grosso writes
|> From: Hakon Lie <>
|> Typographers!
|> If your font size is 12pt and the distance between base lines is 14
|> pt, is leading then 2pt or 14pt? The literature has diverging opinions
|> on this, which -- if any -- is correct?
|Though both have at times been used, by far the more common in use
|recently--especially in the computerized typesetting world--is the
|latter, i.e., baseline-to-baseline measure, e.g., 14pt in your example.

Can you find proof of that? I haven't been able to find any. On the
other hand, I've seen four books, all written in the DTP era, that
define leading as 2pt and only one that says 14pt.

|TeX, the Output Specification (aka FOSIs), and DSSSL are among those
|that measure "leading" as baseline-to-baseline.

That's not correct. TeX doesn't use the term leading anywhere (except
in the index, where the reader is referred to \baselineskip and
\vskip). In fact, TeX has both \baselineskip (baseline-to-baseline
distance) and \lineskip (extra space between lines) and a mechanism
for choosing which of the two is used (\lineskiplimit).

DSSSL doesn't have leading either, it specifies line spacing in a
completely different way: pre-line-spacing (the minimum height of a
line) and post-line-spacing (the minimum depth of a line)

Another issue is that specifying the line feed might be more common
way to express the layout, quite independent of how it is called.


                          Bert Bos                      Alfa-informatica
                 <>           Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    <>     Postbus 716, NL-9700 AS GRONINGEN