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TECH TIP:  USING FONTS

In the beginning, there were serif fonts….Then around the turn of the 20th century, the boom of the sans serif font began. 

OK – wait a minute – what is a serif font – what is a sans serif font – (Some may be saying, “What is a font”).

A font is a typeface – a specific style of type.  There are hundreds…thousands of different fonts.  

A serif font is a font with little cross-lines at the bottoms and tops of the letters – this BLUE text uses a serif font called Times New Roman.  Serif fonts have been around for hundreds of years.

A sans serif font has no little cross-lines – sans is the French word for withoutThis email is being written in a sans serif font called Arial.  Sans Serif fonts came onto the scene around the beginning of the 20th century. 

So – when do you use serif fonts or sans serif fonts?  Here are some general rules.

Serif fonts are best for printed text.  Books almost always use serif fonts because it is easy font to see and read in print.  Sans serif fonts are best used for on-line.  The screen resolution of a monitor is not as good as the resolution of printed material and so the serifs often get blurred on the screen.

Here’s a few other tips. 

   ●  Use sans serif fonts in print for HEADLINES or Sub-Headlines

   ●  Limit your document to just a few different fonts.  Using too many gets confusing and looks gaudy.

   ●  If you are sending documents as attachments that use various fonts, be sure that the fonts you use are common fonts that all computers use (see below – Common Fonts).

   ●  If you do use a font that is not a standard font that most people would have, then you need to send the person the actual font so they can put it in there fonts folder and then see the document as you set it up.

Non-Proportional Fonts

There is another typed of font that is used for special occasions.  It is called a non-proportional font.  Most fonts we use are proportional fonts.  In a non-proportional font, each letter takes up exactly the same amount of space.  That is, an “i” takes the same amount of space as an “m.”  Non-proportional fonts take up more space than proportional fonts.  Here is an example.

This line of text is written in a non-proportional font.

This line of text is written in a proportional font.

See what I mean?

Non-proportional fonts are best used when using numbers – notice how they line up very nicely.

2004 sales figures

     Region 1:     21,389.45
     Region 2:      9,988.35
     Region 3:    103,834.39

Proportional fonts are also great for ASCII Art – see this website to learn about ASCII Art - it’s cool!

http://www.ascii-art.de/

(OK – back to my favorite font - Arial.)

COMMON FONTS – some of these fonts are Windows only and some of these are Mac only

Here are very common sans-serif fonts.

  • Arial
  • Geneva
  • Helvetica  
  • Lucida Sans
  • Trebuchet
  • Verdana

Here are very common serif fonts.

  • Garamond
  • Georgia
  • New York  
  • Times  
  • Times New Roman

Here are very common non-proportional fonts.

  • Courier
  • Courier New
  • Lucida Console
  • Monaco

Where can I get more fonts?

There are tons of places on the web to get fonts.  Here’s a great place.  This website has lots of fonts that you can view and then download – most of the fonts are FREE.
http://simplythebest.net/fonts/

Also - want the Smiley Face Font - You can download it here – free:  http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,8390,00.asp

Learn how to manage your fonts – read this Tech Tip.
http://www.marshalladulteducation.org/techtips/techtip35.htm

 

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E-Mail:    Marshall Adult Education

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