How Do You Customize A Document Style Set In Word Technical Writing – How to Use Fonts Properly in a Technical Document

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Technical Writing – How to Use Fonts Properly in a Technical Document

As a writer, you should know some basics of fonts and some rules in your document. The most basic difference about fonts is whether they have “serif” or not. That’s why the font family is divided into two main groups: Serif and Non-Serif fonts.

A serif is a small tail- or wedge-shaped appendage that is attached outside the end to a letter or symbol. For example, “Times Roman,” is a popular serif font and “Arial” is a similar non-serif font.

RULES ARE APPROVED on font selection for writers:

1) Choose your text from NON-SERIF fonts (such as Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, Tahoma, Futura, Optima) and your body text from SERIF fonts (such as Roman, Times Roman, Times New Roman, Georgia, Bookman).

2) ITALIC is designed to attract itself by virtue of being difficult to read. Therefore, in a block of readable text, it makes sense to mention a word or phrase by printing it in Italic.

However, some authors write the entire website or print page in Italic! That defies the whole purpose of the Italic style. Every time you use Italic font, remember that you are making your message difficult to read. So use it sparingly, like using pepper when cooking.

3) Do not use more than two or a MAXIMUM of three types of text in your educational materials. A profusion of typefaces creates confusion in the reader’s mind. When it comes to fonts, less is always more.

4) Don’t assume that every computer has access to every font you have. However, every computer comes with a set built-in “system fonts” which is installed by the operating system. The most popular of these fonts are Arial, Times Roman, and Courier. If you use these three fonts you can rest assured that your document will appear in the end received in the same fonts that you have used in your machine.

If, however, you use a hard-to-get fancy font, the reader machine will substitute the “closest available font” to make your document readable. For example “Optima” can be replaced with “Arial” and sometimes the changes change the design of the page, usually for the worse.

Therefore, to be safe, stick to the simple “system fonts” when creating a document that you want to share and read online.

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