Picas, pronounced PIE - KAH, space a typographic measuring system developed in 1785 through François-Ambroise “L"éclat” Didot that replaced the traditional cicéro measure up system. Consisted of of 12 “Points,” Picas are still the traditional measuring device for typography today, however many designers still favor to use an ext widely welcomed measurements such as inches and millimeters. So this day we"ll try to price the question: What space Points and Picas - and what"s the difference?

How big is a Pica?

In Didot"s time, a Pica was 1/72.27 ft, or around 0.166044 inches. After ~ the introduction of Postscript, Adobe rounded this the end to 1/72 ft, or around 0.16667 inches. Picas are usually stood for with points in this fashion: (picas)p(points), because that example: 3p9 or 2p6. Sometimes you"ll check out them offered in this fashion: 3P/6p, with the upper-case ns denoting a Pica, and the lower-case p representing a point, back this usage is no as common. Here"s a quick cheat-sheet for some common Pica conversions:

Picas Points Inches
0p99 pt1/8 inch
1p618 pt1/4 inch
3p036 pt1/2 inch
6p072 pt1 inch

What space they offered for?

Traditionally, Points and Picas were provided to measure up the elevation metal moveable type, leading, spacing a for this reason forth. Being a very small and an exact measurement do it fine suited to this task, and it is supplied in lot the very same capacity today. As soon as metal kind was measured, the steel body the form was actors in to be measured, no the kind itself. This was brought forth into modern typography, whereby an invisible area bordering the form known together an “Em Square” is what determines the allude size the a font, not the font itself. Therefor, the cap elevation of a provided font will typically be somewhat smaller sized than than the equivalent font"s point size.

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You use them, too— whether you understand it or not.

Have you ever before used a 12 pt font? fine the pt indicates a point, i beg your pardon is a 1/12th fraction of a Pica. Points, and therefor Picas, are supplied just around anywhere a font is offered that is intended because that print. This is not just true for Postscript applications prefer Abobe Indesign, Adobe Illustrator & Quark XPress, but likewise for indigenous processors choose Microsoft Word, Microsoft Works, indigenous Perfect, Libre Office & open Office as well. Additionally, if you"ve ever before used the ruler pictured above, you"ve supplied Points and Picas.

See more: What Has No Beginning And No End ? No Beginning No End Nothing In The Middle

So what"s the point? (see what i did there?)

Unless you setup on developing everything in Picas from currently on instead of customs or millimeters (I know countless who do), you can just fall this right into the “Good to Know” category, yet understanding just how Picas relate to typography and also other much more standard devices of measurement can offer you a real benefit when typesetting or controlling layouts for print. It will likewise invariably provide you a deeper expertise of just how print layout programs favor Adobe InDesign and also Quark Xpress work, and why countless other design tools job-related the method they do.

As always, thanks for reading, and also if you have any kind of questions about this topic, or friend would prefer to contact someone below at Casey, feel free to sound off in the comments below or to hit the "Talk to an Expert" button. Cheers!