You have probably already noticed that the “kerning” within some number combinations – especially of dates – seems to leave a lot to be desired.
It is most noticeable with combinations of the digit “1” with other digits. The reason for this is the so-called “default Figure Style” that is stored with a font and used as the default setting in InDesign.
The unsightly space between numbers in body text is due to “Tabular Lining” digits. These are set as the default number format in many fonts. This is only useful for typesetting in tables.
You can achieve a more balanced kerning if you change the number style for continuous text to “Proportional Lining”. For better readability, you can also use “Proportional Oldstyle”, which – in contrast to Proportional Lining – do not disturb the flow of reading.
Set the figure style in character and paragraph styles
In the OpenType sections you can adjust the settings for the figure style. Explicitly set the figure style you want to use. With the default figure style, you don't know what you'll get.
Figure Styles can also be defined in Microsoft Word
In the “Advanced section” section of the “Font” dialog box, you can edit the setting under the “Number spacing” item.
When looking for a suitable font, keep an eye out for these features. Modern fonts offer several figure styles that are made for particular application in body text or tables. Unfortunately, you don't know in advance which of these is set as the default figure style.