In typography, the width of a typeset character, gauged in relative units, and set so that adjacent characters do not overlap each other. On typewriters, all characters have the same escapement value. On most typesetters, each character has its own escapement value; for example, the letter "m" has a different value than the letter "i." Some characters on some systems—such as accents—have a zero escapement value, and are used in concert with other characters:
′ + e = é
The accent has a zero escapement, allowing placement of the "e" directly beneath it.
The term escapement also refers to the mechanism in mechanical phototypesetters that proportionally spaces the characters. Some devices print a character, then escape the width of that character, while other systems print a character, then escape the width of the next character before printing it. Laser typesetters, however, do not utilize the concept of escapement.