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In typography and penmanship, the baseline is the line upon which most letters "sit" and below which descenders extend.

In the example to the right, the letter 'p' has a descender; the other letters sit on the (red) baseline.

Most, though not all, typefaces are similar in the following ways as regards the baseline:

  • capital letters sit on the baseline. The most common exceptions are the J and Q.
  • Lining figures (see Arabic numerals) sit on the baseline.
  • The following text figures have descenders: 3 4 5 7 9.
  • The following lowercase letters have descenders: g j p q y.
  • Glyphs with rounded lower extents (0 3 5 6 8 c C G J o O Q U) dip very slightly below the baseline ("overshoot") to create the optical illusion that they sit on the baseline. Peter Karow's Digital Typefaces suggests that typical overshoot is about 1.5%.

The vertical distance of the base lines of consecutive lines in a paragraph is also known as line height or leading, although the latter can also refer to the base-line distance minus the font size.

See also



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