All about leading

all about leading at the daily digi

Becky Higgins Project Life Rain Collection (part of this month’s Digi Files)

What is leading?

Leading (pronounced ledding) refers to the amount of space between lines of text. It’s an important part of typography and it has a big impact on how readable your blocks of text are and the overall feeling of the journaling on a page. The website has some great illustrations of how text changes when the leading is adjusted.

example from design instruct

Chelle of Chelle’s Creations also explained leading really well in her first designer feature here at The Daily Digi.


I love using journaling elements and making my text look like I wrote right on the lines. In photoshop and photoshop elements you can adjust the spacing between the lines by adjusting the leading. It’s a little like single space or double space in word processing, only much more accurate.

How to adjust leading

How you adjust the leading on your text will depend on what size of text you use. Study up on text sizing tips and don’t be afraid to play around with the amount of leading you use. When you have your type tool selected, there will be settings to adjust on font choice, size, and leading. I use Photoshop Elements 11 so this screen shot is from that program, but it is similar to other versions and Photoshop as well.

adjust leading

What if you want to make your text fit on lined paper?

Here’s a fabulous tip from Chelle:

First…I type my journaling in a text box with the same number of lines as my journaling element. Then with all the text highlighted, I experiment with the number in the “adjust the leading” box until the text sits exactly on the lines.

chelled tutorial

She even has a great tutorial on her own site with links to a few freebies for you to practice on!

A few general guidelines

Perfecting leading is not an exact science, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Generally speaking, longer blocks of text need more leading than shorter passages. It’s also possible to add too much leading and have your lines of text too spread apart. I suggest you take some time to look through professionally designed websites and magazines and get a feel for what leading should look like in different situations. Smashing Magazine and How Design magazine are two of my favorite resources for typography eye-candy. Here are a few more links that are also helpful:

Once you discover what leading can do for your layouts, you will never think about text the same way. Have fun!

katie big