Use fonts in Word, Ex­cel, Pow­er­Point, and more

J. D. SARTAIN shows how to down­load, in­stall, and man­age your fonts with ease

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

We have ac­cess to more fonts to­day than ever be­fore, and so many are free! Fonts, like graph­ics, can make or break a pre­sen­ta­tion (such as a Pow­er­Point slideshow); sell a book, magazine, news­pa­per (or leave it on the shelf); and make an ad­ver­tise­ment suc­ceed or fail. We’ll go over

fonts in de­tail so you can start down­load­ing and us­ing them for your own projects.

What are fonts?

Fonts are the com­plete set of char­ac­ters – that is, let­ters, num­bers, and symbols/icons – within a type­face, which is the de­sign of the char­ac­ters. For ex­am­ple, Arial is the type­face; Arial Bold, Italic, Nar­row, Ex­tended (Wide), Black, and so on, are the fonts, or font Fam­ily. Each type­face or font falls within one of five clas­si­fi­ca­tions:

Serif (Times Ro­man, Book­man Old Style, Cam­bria, Gara­mond, and so on).

Sans Serif – which means with­out the short serif lines at the be­gin­ning and end of a char­ac­ter (Arial, Hel­vetica, Hu­man­is­tic, Cal­ibri, and so on).

Script (Cal­lig­ra­phy styles, Black Let­ter styles, Zapf Chancery, English Ada­gio, and so on).

Dec­o­ra­tive type­face (Cos­mic, Kids, Key­boards, Pal­ette, and so on).

Sym­bol/Icon, which are images sized in points (1/72 of an inch), pix­els, or mil­lime­tres (such as Wing Dings, Bul­lets, Or­na­ments, Hol­i­day-Fonts, and so on).

A sixth clas­si­fi­ca­tion (Hand­writ­ing) has emerged since the in­dus­try cre­ated font de­sign soft­ware. These type­faces can fall into any one of the pre­vi­ous clas­si­fi­ca­tions, as long as they are ‘hand­writ­ten’. A cou­ple more notes about fonts: Cur­rently, there are three font for­mats com­pat­i­ble with per­sonal com­put­ers, Macs, and other re­lated

de­vices: OpenType (OTF), PostScript (PS), and TrueType (TTF).

The Script, Dec­o­ra­tive, and Hand­writ­ing type­faces often fail to pro­vide num­bers and spe­cial key­board char­ac­ters, such as the at (@) sign, the am­per­sand (&), and the pound or hash tag (#) sign. You will have to se­lect an­other type­face to rep­re­sent the num­bers. Also, some of these spe­cial­ity fonts only cover the up­per­case let­ters.

Where are the fonts lo­cated on my PC?

On Win­dows PCs, fonts are in­stalled in the C:\ Win­dows\Fonts folder. They are avail­able to al­most all soft­ware pro­grams on the mar­ket to­day, in­clud­ing all the Mi­crosoft Of­fice pro­grams, Photoshop, Corel Draw, Il­lus­tra­tor, and more.

Note: There is much de­bate re­gard­ing the num­ber of fonts that come pre-in­stalled with Mi­crosoft Of­fice. For ex­am­ple, Mi­crosoft Of­fice Pro­fes­sional and Pro­fes­sional Plus have about 216 fonts, and Mi­crosoft Home & Stu­dent and Home & Busi­ness have around 68. I’ve asked Mi­crosoft to clar­ify the dis­par­ity, but I’ve yet to re­ceive a clear an­swer.

Down­load and in­stall fonts

The down­load process is the easy part. Find­ing the fonts is more chal­leng­ing be­cause of the sheer num­ber of type­faces that are now avail­able. If you’re just brows­ing, en­joy the jour­ney. But if you’re look­ing for the best type­face to com­plete that per­fect book cover you’re de­sign­ing for a very fa­mous client, pace your­self – it could take days. Here’s a good way to get started.

1. Search for free fonts and se­lect one of the web­sites from the re­sults. If you are in a hurry, choose a site that pro­vides a ‘Cat­e­gories/Styles’ list so you can, at least, elim­i­nate all the cat­e­gories you don’t want. For ex­am­ple, the 1001 Free Fonts site ( pro­vides a large Cat­e­gories/Styles list just be­neath the site header. If it’s a chil­dren’s book, con­sider the Dis­ney or Fan­tasy group; for sci­ence fic­tion, try the Sci Fi group; or a book about the Knights of King Arthur would likely use a type­face from the Me­dieval group.

2. Browse through the tar­get cat­e­gory, se­lect the type­face that works best for your project, then click the Down­load but­ton.

3. Font files are gen­er­ally down­loaded in com­pressed ZIP for­mat. As­sum­ing you have a pro­gram to

de­com­press ZIP files, that pro­gram will guide you through the process.

4. When the font file ap­pears in the next dialog box, dou­ble-click the file, and Win­dows dis­plays a screen that shows the type­face in mul­ti­ple sizes. If it looks good, click the In­stall but­ton.

5. A dialog pops up and says: Do you want the fol­low­ing pro­gram to make changes to this com­puter? If so, click Yes, and the fonts in­stall di­rectly to your C:\ Win­dows\Fonts folder.

6. You can also copy the ZIP file to your desk­top or an­other folder. Just lo­cate, then click the Copy but­ton.

7. Next, po­si­tion your cur­sor on the ZIP file and right-click.

8. Se­lect Open With (or Ex­tract, based on your zip pro­gram) and choose a zip pro­gram from the drop­down list. The file un­zips, and Win­dows copies it to the des­ti­na­tion lo­ca­tion you spec­i­fied (such as the Desk­top).

9. To in­stall the un­zipped file from the Desk­top or an­other folder (that is not the C:\Win­dows\Fonts folder), just dou­ble-click the file and the In­stall Fonts screen ap­pears. Click the In­stall but­ton, and mis­sion ac­com­plished.

Man­age your fonts

The top ques­tions we get re­gard­ing man­ag­ing fonts are: how many fonts can each soft­ware pro­gram

sup­port, and why are some fonts avail­able in cer­tain pro­grams and not oth­ers?

With no an­swer from Mi­crosoft, I re­searched the quan­tity mat­ter my­self and found this gen­eral con­sen­sus: It de­pends on the soft­ware and your sys­tem’s me­mory.

1. The op­er­at­ing sys­tem and your ap­pli­ca­tions take some RAM. Add to that all the Plug-Ins that Photoshop uses, or the Add-ins that Word uses, plus a font folder stuffed with nearly 4,000 fonts, and the data or im­age file that you’re work­ing on, and that’s it, you’re out of me­mory.

2. If your sys­tem is me­mory-de­fi­cient, con­sider cre­at­ing a sec­ondary Fonts folder some­where else on your hard drive. To avoid con­fu­sion, call it some­thing else like Fonts2 or Unin­stalled Fonts.

3. Next, cre­ate sub­fold­ers in­side that folder for Cat­e­gories, with Styles sub­fold­ers in­side each Cat­e­gory folder. Now you can leave the fonts you use all the time in the C:\Win­dows\Fonts folder and just re-in­stall the fonts you need for the cur­rent project, then unin­stall them again when the project is com­plete.

4. Also con­sider copy­ing all the fonts used in each project to that project’s folder (but do not move or delete them from your Fonts2 folder, or they will not be vis­i­ble for fu­ture projects).

5. Artists, graphic de­sign­ers, page and lay­out pro­duc­tion staff, and type­set­ters use hun­dreds of type­faces a month and, there­fore, use font man­ager pro­grams. Most of them are very user-friendly. Some of the free ones lack the ex­tra fea­tures of the fee-based

pro­grams. Choose the pro­gram that fits your needs (and your wal­let), then play around with it for awhile. Once you’ve cho­sen your pro­gram, start or­ga­niz­ing your fonts.

6. No­tice that the font man­ager shown above (Fon­tBase, uses the left-hand col­umn to or­ga­nize your fonts in a va­ri­ety of ways: by Fa­vorites, Ac­tive, and In­ac­tive, or by set­ting up col­lec­tions or see­ing fonts in their fold­ers. The main win­dow dis­plays the style and de­sign of each type­face per­fectly, so you can scroll through the lists and choose the best font for each project.

My font man­ager shaved 20 min­utes off each of my projects when I was a graphic de­signer. Makes a dif­fer­ence when you have dozens of projects a week.

Symbols/Icon type­face fonts

1001 Free Fonts is one of many troves of fonts on­line

Copy and un­zip a font file

Fon­tBase is a free font man­ager with ver­sions avail­able for Win­dows, Mac, and Linux

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