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3.1: Defining Font and Text Attributes

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    The way text appears on the screen or a page is referred to its format. Formatting text can enhance the appearance of a document, create visual impact, and help illustrate a document’s structure. Font, size, and style define a character’s format. A font is a complete set of characters with the same typeface or design. Dozens of fonts are available in the Font drop down list. Users can easily format text with fonts, colors, styles, and other formats by selecting the text and clicking various commands in the Font or Mini toolbar Paragraph group on the Home tab. The Mini toolbar, appears faintly above text when you first select it, and includes the most commonly used formatting commands. The table below describes the functions of each button on the mini toolbar.

    Formatting buttons
    Formatting buttons

    Here are a couple of best practices when utilizing fonts. First, avoid using too many fonts in the same document. More than two or three fonts in the same document becomes distracting. Secondly, legibility and readability should be primary considerations. This should factor in the reader’s characteristics, and the purpose of the document. For example, while the default size for a font is 11pt, a larger size font (i.e. 14pt) might be more appropriate for an older aged reader. A pt (or point) is the equal to 1/72 of an inch. Headings and titles deserve larger font sizes. However, it is also good practice to limit the quantity of font sizes used in a single document. Lastly, consider using common fonts for professional and business documents. Calibri, Arial, Verdana and Times New Roman are ranked highly by as preferable fonts for résumés, whereas Comic Sans is not recommended. Note that Calibri is only available on Windows operating systems, whereas Arial, Verdana and Times New Roman are some of the cross-platform available fonts.

    This page titled 3.1: Defining Font and Text Attributes is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Marcus Lacher (Minnesota Libraries Publishing Project) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.