Using unique fonts in your documents can be just the extra touch you need to guarantee your memos stand out, your reports look polished, and your flyer conveys your message. While Microsoft Word comes with a number of standard fonts, such as Arial, Courier New, and Times New Roman, you can install new fonts on your computer at any time--and then use those fonts to spice up your Word documents. There are a huge variety of fonts available; whether you're looking for cool fonts, calligraphy fonts, or other font types, there's a font out there for you.
The Web is an outstanding resource for finding free fonts in a huge range of styles (see links related to this article for a few great fonts). You also can purchase font libraries on CD or online. Windows supports several different types of fonts including TrueType fonts (TTF, .ttf), OpenType fonts (OTF, .otf), and Type 1 fonts (PFM, .pfm). If you are downloading fonts or are purchasing a font CD, be sure that they are one of these types of fonts, otherwise the fonts may not be recognized by Windows. In my opinion, if you want an excellent deal, check out Ultimate Font Download - you get over 6,500 fonts.
When you download a font from a Web site, you will usually download a .zip file, which is a compressed file format that makes the download smaller. You will need to unzip the .zip file before you can add those fonts to your computer. To unzip a file, locate the file using Windows Explorer, right-click the file name, and then select Extract All in the shortcut menu.
To add a new font to your computer using Windows XP:
- Click the Start button.
- On the Start menu, click Control Panel.
- In Category view, click Appearance and Themes and then click Fonts in the See Also list at the left side of the window. (If your computer is set to use Classic View, simply click Fonts in the Control Panel window.)
- On the File menu, click Install New Font. The Add Fonts window will open, displaying a list of fonts and a list of drives from which you can select fonts to add.
- If you are adding fonts from a CD, click the Drives list arrow and select the letter for your CD/DVD drive.
- In the Folders list, double-click to move through folders to locate and select the folder that contains the fonts to add. As you click through folders, Windows will identify any font files in those folders and update the List of fonts at the top of the window.
- In List of fonts, click to select a font (or click the Select All button to select all fonts in the List of fonts). Leave the "Copy fonts to Fonts folder" check box checked.
- Click the OK button. The Install Font Progress window will appear as the fonts are installed on your computer.
- Close Fonts window by clicking the Close (x) button at the top right corner of the window.
If you have a Mac, using the font manager is just as simple.
Want to Convert Your Handwriting Into a Font? It's Fun and Easy!
The next time you start Word, the newly installed font will appear in the Font list, in alphabetical order. You now can apply your new Microsoft Word fonts to any text in a Word document! Dive in and start experimenting to discover how different types of fonts can completely change the visual impact of your documents.
Finally, remember that, just because you have new fonts, you don't need to use all at one time. Using too many fonts in one document can make it look unprofessional or hard to read. Effective wordprocessing is simple, and many designers swear by Helvetica. In general, if you use more than one typeface, use each font to provide clear contrast or to distinctly identify a repetitive element, such as section headings. For a great reference on how to use fonts to create stylish, standout documents, check out The Non-Designer's Design Book (second edition) by Robin Williams.