iOS NSAttributedString


Creating a string that has custom kerning (letter spacing)

NSAttributedString (and its mutable sibling NSMutableAttributedString) allows you to create strings that are complex in their appearance to the user.

A common application is to use this to display a string and adding custom kerning / letter-spacing.

This would be achieved as follows (where label is a UILabel), giving a different kerning for the word "kerning"


var attributedString = NSMutableAttributedString("Apply kerning")
attributedString.addAttribute(attribute: NSKernAttributeName, value: 5, range: NSMakeRange(6, 7))
label.attributedText = attributedString


NSMutableAttributedString *attributedString;
attributedString = [[NSMutableAttributedString alloc] initWithString:@"Apply kerning"];
[attributedString addAttribute:NSKernAttributeName value:@5 range:NSMakeRange(6, 7)];
[label setAttributedText:attributedString];

Create a string with strikethrough text


NSMutableAttributedString *attributeString = [[NSMutableAttributedString alloc] initWithString:@"Your String here"];
[attributeString addAttribute:NSStrikethroughStyleAttributeName
                    range:NSMakeRange(0, [attributeString length])];


let attributeString: NSMutableAttributedString =  NSMutableAttributedString(string: "Your String here")
attributeString.addAttribute(NSStrikethroughStyleAttributeName, value: 2, range: NSMakeRange(0, attributeString.length))

Then you can add this to your UILabel:

yourLabel.attributedText = attributeString;

Appending Attributed Strings and bold text in Swift

let someValue : String = "Something the user entered"     
let text = NSMutableAttributedString(string: "The value is: ")
text.appendAttributedString(NSAttributedString(string: someValue, attributes: [NSFontAttributeName:UIFont.boldSystemFontOfSize(UIFont.systemFontSize())]))

The result looks like:

The value is: Something the user entered

Change the color of a word or string


UIColor *color = [UIColor redColor];
NSString *textToFind = @"redword";

NSMutableAttributedString *attrsString =  [[NSMutableAttributedString alloc] initWithAttributedString:yourLabel.attributedText];

// search for word occurrence
NSRange range = [yourLabel.text rangeOfString:textToFind];
if (range.location != NSNotFound) {
    [attrsString addAttribute:NSForegroundColorAttributeName value:color range:range];

// set attributed text
yourLabel.attributedText = attrsString;


let color =;
let textToFind = "redword"
let attrsString =  NSMutableAttributedString(string:yourlabel.text!);
// search for word occurrence
let range = (yourlabel.text! as NSString).range(of: textToFind)
if (range.length > 0) {
// set attributed text
yourlabel.attributedText = attrsString


The main here is to use a NSMutableAttributedString and the selector addAttribute:value:range with the attribute NSForegroundColorAttributeName to change a color of a string range:

NSMutableAttributedString *attrsString =  [[NSMutableAttributedString alloc] initWithAttributedString:label.attributedText];
[attrsString addAttribute:NSForegroundColorAttributeName value:color range:range];

You could use another way to get the range, for example: NSRegularExpression.

Removing all attributes


NSMutableAttributedString *mutAttString = @"string goes here";
NSRange range = NSMakeRange(0, mutAttString.length);
[mutAttString setAttributes:@{} range:originalRange];

As per Apple Documentation we use, setAttributes and not addAttribute.


mutAttString.setAttributes([:], range: NSRange(0..<string.length))