5. Choosing the Font, Size, and Color

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In this lesson, we demonstrate the basic text formatting options: font, size, and color.


Lesson Goal

Improve the look of text by changing the font, size, and color.

Font type

Fonts come in two distinct types. Serif and sans serif.

Serif fonts contain decorative marks to Improve readability for printed documents. There are a lot of professional-looking serif fonts. We recommend Georgia and Garamond.

Sans serif fonts contain no decorative marks. This makes them more readable for onscreen documents. We recommend Calibri and Arial.



Font size in Word documents uses a measurement called “point”. 1 point is 1/72 inches or 0.35mm. Word’s size dropdown ranges from 8 to 72. For most professional docs stick to 11 or 12 point.


Be careful about deviating from black. It’s better to use bold or italic to emphasize text (more on this in the next lesson). Colors can be useful for informal docs. When you do use colors, make sure it’s distinct from black text and that it contrasts with the white background. We recommend a prominent red or blue.


In the previous lesson, we looked at how to identify formatting marks in your document and when to specific spacing types to efficiently create a more professional looking document. In this lesson, we'll improve the look of the text by changing the color, size and font. Before we start, it's essential to point out that less is more when it comes to formatting text. Using striking fonts or bold colors should be left to design experts.

In this course, we'll show you how to improve the look of your text with moderation.

Word offers a wide variety of text formatting options. Users can choose between dozens of text types known as fonts and millions of colors. By default the font sizes range from eight point to 72 point.

Points are a text size measurement. One point refers to 0.35 millimeters or 1/72 of an inch.

This variety can be advantageous but it can also cause problems. Lots of fonts, colors and sizes affect readability and are inappropriate for professional documents. Let's examine the case study document to see an example of inappropriate use of font, size and color.

On page two, there's a section called Our Values with some questionable use of font, size and color.

The most striking issue here is the use of color. The bright yellow bold text looks like it wants to draw your attention.

Ironically the color makes it difficult to read against a white background.

We'll change this to black.

And allow the bolding to draw the reader's attention. This text also uses darker blues and greens but there's no justifiable reason for them. Readers might wonder if there's any significance. Unless we're trying to draw attention to the text, we should always use black.

This is more professional, more readable and removes any ambiguity.

In general, users should avoid using text color as a way to draw the reader's attention. If you must use a color to make text stand out, use red or blue.

We'll change the color of the rest of this section to black.

Let's move on to text size.

If we select this whole section, we can see that the text size is eight point.

If we expand our selection to text in the following section, we see that the font size box goes blank.

This means there's an inconsistent use of text size within the document.

If we click anywhere outside this section, we see the text size is 11 point.

The text size of a typical business document should be around 11 or 12 point.

We'll quickly change the text size of the entire document by selecting all the text.

We'll click the dropdown arrow in the text size box and choose 11.

Holding down Control and typing either less than or greater than will decrease or increase the text size.

Note that different fonts have different inherent sizes.

The text size is now consistent across the entire document but the text in the Our Value section still looks somewhat larger.

We'll have to examine the font to fix this.

When we select this section's text again, we see that the font is Comic Sans.

When we expand the selection, we can see once again that the font is not consistent across the document.

Placing the cursor outside the selection reveals that the font is Arial. Here we can see two problems.

First, the font in this document should be more consistent.

When starting a document, you should pick a font and stick to it.

Changing it afterwards can completely change the structure of your document. Second, Comic Sans is not an appropriate font for a professional document.

Comic Sans is a very popular font but its informal, near handwritten look makes it incompatible with professional documents.

These documents should always pick a clear and simple font.

When choosing the right font, you should consider if you want a serif or sans serif font.

A serif font contains decorative marks in some letters.

This can make reading easier for printed documents.

For documents read on a screen, serifs can impede readability so you should choose a sans serif font.

There are still a wide variety of appropriate fonts but we suggest Arial for sans serif and Georgia for serif.

The rest of this document used Arial so we'll apply this to all the text by selecting all text and then selecting Arial.

We've made all the necessary changes to the color, size and font of this section of the document, so we'll finish the lesson here. In the next lesson, we'll examine how to use bolding and underlining to enhance the readability of your document.

Typing and Formatting Text in Word


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