Text size aint right

So, I create a letter with the text create option in carbide create. It gives an option for letter height. For example, I’ve created a letter T with the letter height of 6 inches. I click apply. Then, if I cut this letter out, it aint 6 inches! I look back at the height of the shape and its 3.25 inches. Why is there an option for letter height if it isn’t the actual height of the letter?? I have to create letters, then resize them with the resize tool every time.

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I’m anxious to read an official answer to this one…but I’m going to take a guess that “Font Size” is different than “Text Size” because “Font Size” has space above and below the letter. When you define a font, you put space around each letter, which gets used (I believe) for spacing, kerning, etc. So that might be exacerbated when you use a Font Size in inches… so, for example, a 12 pt font is technically .167 inches…but of that .167 inches, some size is taken up by space above and below…so the letter is smaller than .167. Multiply that up to 6" and that space may become fairly substantial. Just a guess.

Been fighting that for seven years or is it six… Yeah it’s been a long time.

We take the data from the font but there’s nothing to say that the standard height for a font is X, a given font could be a little taller or it could be a little smaller. You might also not be using the tallest letter in the font so it could be even further off if your text is “ac” compared to “AC”, for instance.

Basically, the font height is really more of a reference height, not necessarily the actual height of your rendered text. I did some testing with other programs and they had similar behavior, I assume for similar reasons.

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There is also a problem that CC messes up font sizing based on the screen scaling:

So, the only thing you can say about the ‘Font Size’ property is that the size will change as you change that number, hopefully in a linear fashion.

Font size is given in terms of the “em square” used when designing the font.

Consider a piece of hot metal type:

The overall size of the type is what is used when size is specified, but for the most part, characters are w/in the bounds of that, hence smaller, and size will vary from typeface to typeface based on how the designer chose to use the space.

For more on the design of type see:

The first half of the manual for the LaTeX documentclass memoir is a good primer on typography:

Or see:

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Will, that picture brought back some memories from visiting a newspaper typesetting department in the early 80’s.
Seeing Linotype machines cast those slugs of lead, with words or whole sentences, to be used in the print press was interesting indeed.

On a side note, when the newspapers went digital we got loads of Linotype lead slugs for free, that we melted down into bullets for reloading ammunition. Linotype lead is perfect for cast bullets due to the hardness of the alloy.

I have a small collection of hot metal type and other printing paraphenalia, which includes some Linotype slugs, as well as some electroplates — unfortunately, every occasion of my trying to source or buy a printing press has fallen through — maybe something for when I retire.

A book which I believe everyone should read is Warren Chappell’s wonderful:

(get one of the originals, not one of the later editions which somehow manage to introduce more errors than they fix)


I have been making signs in carbide create 5 and the font size has always been the height of the letter. I tried yesterday with the newly loaded V6 version to bring in a V5 file and did the conversion and size is all wrong. My 2" is 1.6076 or 1.608 depending at what you are looking at. I deleted all the text from my test file and started all over and 2 inches always shows up at 1.6076. So all my depth of cut and font sizes could be a mess. For now I will stay with my Version 5 Carbide Create as V6 just makes things more difficult in this case. Normally I love all the improvements, love my Shapeoko XXL machine.