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How to Change the Default Font in Microsoft Word (+ Best 2020 Font Styles)

This post is part of a series called Learn How to Use Microsoft Word (Beginner Tutorial Guide).
How to Work With MS Word Spelling & Grammar Checker (Troubleshooting)
What Is Microsoft Word (Definition)? What Is MS Word Used For? (+Top Features)

When it comes to creating a compelling and effective document, one of the most important tools at your disposal is the font (also known as "typeface").

Fonts do much more than improve—or hamper—the legibility of your piece. They set a tone. They've got personalities. They evoke feelings. As such, fonts can either reinforce or undermine your brand.

Unlimited Fonts Download - Envato Elements
Learn how to add fonts to Microsoft Word from sources like Envato Elements, shown above.

Because fonts are so important, you may want to change the default fonts in Microsoft Word. In this article, you'll see, step-by-step how to add fonts to Microsoft Word so you can change the default fonts in your document.

You’ll also learn tips on where to find the best Microsoft Word fonts and how to choose the best ones for your document.

(Note: In the tutorials below, I use Microsoft Word for macOS. If you're on Windows or a different version of Word, then your interface will look different.)

Why Use Premium Fonts in Your Microsoft Word Document?

When it comes to creating documents that get and keep your readers’ attention, fonts are some of your most powerful tools. The right fonts:

  • reinforce your branding
  • express the right tone
  • direct the reader’s attention
  • improve readability 

You might be tempted to use free fonts for Microsoft Word in your next document. But remember, those built-in MS Word fonts are exactly the same fonts that everyone else is using. Or, you might find a free Microsoft Word fonts download. But free fonts are often not as well-designed as premium fonts.

You can easily add fonts to Microsoft Word from outstanding sources like Envato Elements or GraphicRiver. To be able to download unlimited fonts, then look to Envato Elements. You get access to thousands of fonts. Download as many as you need for one small subscription price. 

Typewriter Font Microsoft Word
A search for "typewriter font Microsoft Word" yields dozens of results in Envato Elements.

For one-off projects, GraphicRiver is a great source of the best Microsoft Word fonts on a pay-per-use basis. 

And lastly, use the tips above to choose and use fonts effectively in your document. The misuse and overuse of fonts are sure signs of an amateur.

How to Change Microsoft Word Default Font 

Word comes with default fonts, but you can change the font to match your branding or to change the tone and personality of the document. 

You’ll find that dozens of fonts are already built into Word, and you can replace the default fonts with those. And you can also add new fonts. We’ll talk about how to add fonts to Microsoft Word later in this post.

To change the Microsoft Word default font, you've got three options:

1. How to Change the Microsoft Word Default Font for a Block of Text

This is a quick method that’s good to use if you want to change the default font only for one or a few bits of text. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Select the Text

Change Microsoft Word default font - select text

Step 2. Open the Font Selection Tool

Change Microsoft Word default font - Font Selection Tool

Click on the Font selection tool on the ribbon. You must be on the Home tab to see the buttons for formatting text. The Microsoft Word fonts list opens.

Step 3. Find the font you wish to use.

The Microsoft Word fonts list shows the Theme Fonts, Recent Fonts, and All Fonts. Scroll down farther to see all the fonts available on your computer. This includes fonts that are built-in as well as fonts you've added, listed in alphabetical order. The fonts list also gives you a preview of what each font looks like.

Click on the font you wish to use. A triangle next to the font means there are further selections you can make.

Change Microsoft Word default font - Choose the font

Step 4. Change the Font Size

Go to the font-size button to change the font size. 

Change Microsoft Word default font - Change the font size

Or, click the Increase Font Size or Decrease Font Size buttons to change the font size by increments.

Step 5. Change Other Text and Paragraph Settings

Use the other buttons on the ribbon to add emphasis (bold, italics, underline), change the font color, and apply other effects.

Change Microsoft Word default font - Font color and other settings

We've now changed the default font in Microsoft Word.

How to change Microsoft Word default font

2. How to Replace the Default Font Based on Paragraph Style

By changing the font used for a paragraph style, the change is applied globally in your document for all text with that paragraph style. Use this if you want to change the default font for large sections of text. 

Follow the steps on how to change the Microsoft Word default font for a paragraph style:

Step 1. Select the Text

Highlight text that’s representative of the paragraph style you want to re-format. Make sure it's got the paragraph style you want to change.

How to change Microsoft Word default font - Paragraph Styles

In this example, I'll replace the default font for the Normal paragraph style. 

Step 2. Apply the Font Settings You Wish to Use

Follow the steps in Method 1 to change the font, font size, font color, and apply other settings. You may also want to change the paragraph settings, such as alignment, line spacing, etc.

How to change Microsoft Word default font - Format paragraph

Step 3. Apply the New Formatting to the Paragraph Style

With the cursor in the paragraph you’ve formatted, click on the Styles button on the ribbon. This opens the paragraph Styles selection. 

Change Microsoft Word default font - Paragraph Styles

The current paragraph style will be highlighted. In this case, it’s the Normal style. Right-click on the Normal style, then click on Update Normal to Match Selection.

Change Microsoft Word default font - Update paragraph style

All other paragraphs with the Normal style are updated with the new font and settings you made.

Change Microsoft Word default font - Paragraph style updated

3. How to Change the Font Based on Paragraph Styles Button

This method has the same end-result as Method 2. It changes the default font for a specific paragraph style. The steps are slightly different, as you'll see:

Step 1. Open the Styles Settings

Click on the Styles button on the ribbon. This displays the paragraph styles.

Change Microsoft Word default font - Paragraph style settings

Step 2. Modify the Paragraph Style

Right-click on the style you wish to change. Click Modify...

Change Microsoft Word default font - Modify paragraph style settings

The Modify Style dialog opens.

Change Microsoft Word default font - Modify paragraph style

Change the font, font size, and other settings. The box shows a preview of what the paragraph will look like when the settings you chose are applied. If you’re happy with the way it looks, click OK.

Change Microsoft Word default font - Paragraph style applied

The new font (and other settings) will be applied to all paragraphs with that paragraph style.

How to Add Fonts to Microsoft Word

Right out of the box, Microsoft Word comes with dozens of fonts built in. But what if you want to use a font and you don’t see it on the Microsoft Word fonts list? 

In that case, you add the font to Microsoft Word. I’ll walk you through how to do that in this section:

Step 1. Find New Fonts

The first step is to find the font you want to use. There are many sources of custom fonts. One to consider is Envato Elements, where you can download an unlimited number of fonts for one small subscription price. 

To find a font you like, log into your Envato Elements account.

best microsoft word fonts - Envato Elements

On the search bar, click on the downward arrow, then select Fonts.

Best microsoft word fonts in Envato Elements
Find some of the best Microsoft Word fonts in Envato Elements.

Type a keyword into the search bar, depending on what kind of font you’re looking for. Click the search icon. The most relevant results appear.

Find new fonts at Envato Elements

Refine the results by Categories, Spacing, Optimum Size, and Properties. You can also sort the results by popularity (Popular) and newness (New).

Click on a font image or name to see its details.

Microsoft Word cursive fonts - Envato Elements
 Envato Elements offers thousands of Microsoft Word cursive fonts, available with unlimited downloads.

When you find a font you like, click on any of the Download buttons on the page. 

Microsoft Word cursive font - Olive Script
Magenta is a Microsoft Word cursive font from Envato Elements. 

The Add this file to a project dialog box pops up.

Add font to Microsoft Word from Envato Elements

Select a project to add the font file to. Or, click Create new project to add it to a new project. For this example, I'll add the font to my existing tutorial project. Click the Add & Download button.

The file manager opens (Finder, if you’re on macOS; File Explorer, if you’re on Windows). Specify where you want to save the font file on your computer. Click Save.

Add font to Microsoft Word - Save to computer

The font files are now saved on your computer as a zip file. 

Double-click on the zip file to unzip it. 

Add font to Microsoft Word - Unzipped file

Double-click on the font file itself to open it. It'll usually have an extension like OTF or TTF. Click Install Font

Add font to Microsoft Word - Install font

This adds the font to your computer’s fonts library.

Font in Computer Fonts Library

The new font should now appear in the All Fonts list in Microsoft Word. To confirm, click on the Fonts button on the ribbon and scroll down the list until you see the new font. If you don’t see it, you may have to restart your computer.

Add font to Microsoft Word

Now, follow any of the methods above to change the default font with the new one.

2 Types of Fonts

Now that you know how to add fonts to Microsoft Word and replace the default fonts in your document, it would help for you to know more about fonts. This will help you choose the best fonts for your Word document.

There are two basic types of fonts you can use in your documents:

1. Serif Fonts

Serif fonts have little lines at the end of each stroke, like this:

Microsoft Word font styles - Serif font

Common examples of serif fonts include:

Microsoft Word font styles - Serif font examples
Serif fonts seem to work best in printed documents.

Various research studies have shown that, when it comes to printed matter, serif fonts are the easiest to read and result in the best comprehension.

2. Sans Serif Fonts

As the name implies, sans serif fonts don't have little lines at the end of each stroke (“sans” means “without” in French):

Microsoft Word font styles - Sans serif font

These are some of the most common sans serif fonts:

Microsoft Word font styles - Sans serif font examples
Sans serif fonts are recommended for materials that'll be read on a device or screen.

Citing research by the Software Usability Research Laboratory, Drew E. Whitman in his book Ca$vertising, noted that sans serif fonts are the most legible fonts to use on a computer screen. Specifically, Arial, Courier, and Verdana were considered the best for online reading.

But these studies were conducted when the resolution of online screens was still very low (below 100 dpi) compared to printed materials (300 dpi). As computer screen resolutions get closer to 300 dpi, serif fonts may prove to be legible both online and offline.

In the meantime, you can use both serif and sans serif fonts in one document—if you know how. Read on for tips on how to use combine fonts.

5 Tips on Using Typography Effectively in Your Word Documents

It’s easy to get carried away with fonts! You may find that having so many kinds of fonts available at your fingertips unleashes your creativity. Yet, as with most things, fonts can either enhance or sabotage your document. 

Follow these tips to harness the power of typography:

1. Keep It Simple

When it comes to choosing fonts, legibility is of utmost importance. Sure, it’s easier than ever now for you to find the most creative and outrageous fonts. But if nobody can read your text, then they defeat their purpose. If you must use an ornate font, restrict it to one letter or word.

2. Stick to Two Fonts

A document that’s dripping with many different fonts makes it look amateurish, confusing, and incoherent. For best results, stick to a maximum of two fonts: one serif and one sans serif. (More on this in tip #4).

Remember, use formatting like bold, italics, underlines, different font sizes and colors to add emphasis and variety.

3. Match the Tone and Goals for the Document

Fonts have personality, so pick the ones that match the tone and goals of the document. For example, the fonts for a 16th birthday party invitation will be different from the ones in a financial business report.

When in doubt, pre-test the document. Show it to other people, especially those who are like the intended audience. Make sure they can comprehend the document, first, and that they respond favorably.

4. Choose Fonts Appropriate for the Document’s Intended Use

Whether the document will be printed out or consumed on a computer screen will also affect your choice of fonts.

If you’re making a printed document, use the sans serif font for headings and the serif font for body text. For a web-based document, switch it: Use a serif font for headings and sans serif for body text.

5. Use Handwritten, Cursive, and Decorative Fonts Sparingly

Calligraphy fonts for Microsoft Word
Decorative and calligraphy fonts for Microsoft Word should be used judiciously.

There are other font types that may not fit easily in either serif or sans serif categories. These include handwritten, cursive, and decorative fonts. Handwritten fonts, as the name says, look like they were written by hand. These are extremely popular and useful for adding a warm, personal touch on materials. They can range from casual to glamorous.

Cursive fonts are a kind of handwritten font that look like they’re written in longhand. Beware of using cursive and handwritten fonts because they can be difficult to read. Use them for short bits of text you want to emphasize.

You can easily find handwritten fonts in marketplaces like Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.

Decorative fonts have special effects or treatments. They may be serif or sans serif. And some handwritten fonts can be considered decorative as well. 

Here’s a sampling of the decorative fonts available in Envato Elements:

5 Best Font Styles for 2020

Designers come up with new fonts every day. Below are five of the best and freshest Microsoft Word font styles we’re seeing for 2020, along with two fresh examples of each style:

1. Vintage Fonts

Vintage fonts evoke the aesthetic of times past. If you’re working on a document that’s about a specific time, you’re bound to find a font to match.

Anthique - Vintage Typeface

Anthique Vintage Typeface
Anthique is a vintage font with a Victorian feel.

Anthique is reminiscent of handmade Victorian hand lettering but with a modern flavor. It works best for materials that relate to the early 1800s. The font includes three variations in TTF and OTF formats. It also supports multilingual characters.

Middle Class Script

Middle Class Script - vintage font
Middle Class is a bold and sporty vintage script font that evokes the '60s and '70s.

Middle Class is a script font that’s evocative of the bold style of the '60s and '70s. It's got a hand-drawn and layered style, and includes punctuation, common ligatures, and extra swashes (lines).

2. Brush Script Fonts

Brush script fonts are handwritten fonts that look like they were written with a brush, such as a calligraphy or a paintbrush. These are increasingly popular as brands want to add a personal touch to their materials.

Eberthany Brush Script

Eberthany Brush Script - Microsoft Word cursive font
Eberthany Brush Script is a Microsoft Word cursive font from Envato Elements.

Eberthany is a modern brush script signature font that works for:

  • social media posts
  • logos
  • wedding invitations
  • labels
  • quotes
  • and more 

It works best with software that supports OpenType fonts like Adobe Illustrator CS, Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe InDesign, and Corel Draw.

Mistrully Brush Script

Mistrully Brush Script - Microsoft Word cursive font
Another example of a Microsoft Word cursive font is the Mistrully Brush Script.

Mistrully is a stylish brush script that looks like natural handwriting. It comes with special swashes or handwritten lines that you can use to add emphasis. Mistrully works well for logos, social media posts, advertisements, product designs and labels, stationery, among others.

3. Font Duos

Font Duos take the guesswork out of choosing fonts that work well together. These two-for-one font packages are designed to complement each other. You only need to pick the font duo that aligns with your branding and the tone of the material you’re designing. Examples of font duos include:

Chiladepia - Font Duo

Chiladepia Font Duo - Script and Sans Serif
The Chiladepia Font Duo includes both a script and a sans serif font.

The Chiladepia Font Duo is made up of two handwritten fonts. One's a cursive font and the other's a sans serif font. This font duo would work well on a computer screen. Use the cursive font for titles or headers and the sans serif font for the rest of the document.

Perkin | Duo Font Pack

Perkin  Duo Font Pack
The Perkin Duo Font Pack is ideal for Microsoft Word documents that'll be printed.

The Perkin Duo Font combines a bold sans serif and a serif font. The sans serif font is best for titles and headings, while the serif font works great for body text. This duo is ideal for printed materials.

4. 3D Decorative Fonts

3D decorative fonts look like they’re popping off the pages. These fonts are incredibly eye-catching. For that reason, they’re great for titles. But, they’re not the most legible fonts, so use them sparingly for short bits of text.

Ultra - Modern Font

Ultra 3D Microsoft Word font
The Ultra Modern Font is a 3D Microsoft Word font from Envato Elements

If you’re creating a futuristic document, then consider the Ultra - Modern Font. It's got a modern and futuristic style. This pack is actually made up of four font styles: regular, bold, 3D, and bold 3D. It also comes in both OTF and TTF formats.

Under Construction 3D Color Font

Under Construction 3D Color Font
The Under Construction 3D Color Font is a stunning font for construction and tech-related documents.

Under Construction is a stunning 3D decorative font to use on materials related to industry, construction, technology, and the like. Each letter looks like it floats on top of the page. It’s a color or SVG OpenType font, which works only in Photoshop CC 2017+, Illustrator CC 2018, and some Mac apps.

5. Tech Sans Serif Fonts

Tech sans serif fonts have gone a long way since the pixelized arcade fonts of the ‘80s. Many are also much more legible and modern. Below are two examples:

Azuria - Technology Science Font

Azuria - Technology Science Font
The Azuria Technology Science Font above was downloaded from Envato Elements.

The Azuria - Technology Science Font evokes technology, science, and outer space. Its metallic, 3D look would work well in video games, movie titles, and tech-related branding. The font includes all Latin letters from A-Z, numbers, and punctuation marks.

Cyborg - Futuristic Technology Typeface

Cyborg - Futuristic Technology Typeface
The Cyborg is another futuristic Microsoft Word font for tech, science, and space-related materials.

Cyborg is another futuristic tech font. Inspired by science fiction, it’s perfect for titles related to space, technology, and science. It comes in OTF, TTF, and WOFF formats.

Put Fonts to Work in Your Microsoft Word Document Today

As you’ve learned in this article, you don’t need to stick to the default fonts in Microsoft Word. Follow the steps outlined above to replace the default fonts with ones that are more appropriate to your document. 

Now that you understand how to add fonts to Microsoft Word, you're ready to start taking advantage of the unique look a professionally designed font can give your documents. 

At Envato Elements and GraphicRiver we've got some of the best Microsoft Word fonts available. Take a look at our Microsoft Word fonts list today. Download your favorites for your next MS Word document.

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