How to choose the best fonts for PowerPoint Presentations
November 10, 2023
PowerPoint How To
PowerPoint is one of the most popular and versatile tools for creating and delivering presentations. Whether you are pitching an idea, teaching a lesson, or sharing information, you want your slides to be clear, consistent, and compelling. But beyond the storyline, one of the key elements that can make or break your presentation is the choice of fonts.
Fonts are more than just letters and symbols - fonts can help convey meaning, mood, and personality. They can also affect the readability and legibility of your text, which is crucial for keeping your audience engaged and informed.
In this blog post, we look at the different styles of fonts, recommendations of the best fonts for PowerPoint presenting vs printed reports and we share some hints and tips on how to choose the best font for PowerPoint presentations based on your audience and delivery method.
What are the types of fonts?
Before we dive into the specific fonts that work well for PowerPoint, its helpful to have an overview of some basic terminology and categories of fonts. Fonts can be classified into two main groups: serif and sans serif. Here's a quick explanation of each style:
Serif fonts have small strokes or lines at the end of each character, such as Times New Roman, Georgia, or Garamond. They are often associated with tradition, elegance, and formality.
Sans serif fonts do not have these strokes or lines, such as Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana. They are often associated with modernity, simplicity, and clarity. They are also more readable on-screen than serif fonts, which can look blurry or pixelated.
There are also other types of fonts, such as script, decorative, or monospaced fonts, but they are usually not recommended for PowerPoint presentations because they can be hard to read (or distracting!).
What are the factors to consider when choosing the best font for presentations?
When choosing a font for PowerPoint presentations, it's important to consider the following factors:
Readability: How easy is it to read the text on your slides? You want to choose a font that is clear and crisp, especially if you have a lot of text or small font size. You should also avoid using too many different fonts or styles in your presentation, as this can create visual clutter and confusion. Consider as part of this the intended delivery format - for example, will you be presenting the slides in an auditorium or emailing/ printing a deck for individuals to read through on their screen or on paper?
Design: How well does the font match the theme and tone of your presentation? You want to choose a font that reflects your intended message and brand (or personality, for individual presentations). For example, if you are presenting a creative or playful topic, you might want to use a font that has some flair or fun. However for presenting a serious or professional topic, you might want to use a font that has some weight or authority.
Style: How do you want to emphasize or differentiate certain parts of your text? You can use different font styles, such as bold, italic, underline, or color, to highlight important words or phrases in your presentation. However, you should use these styles sparingly and consistently, as too much variation can reduce the impact and coherence of your text.
What are some examples of good fonts for PowerPoint presentations?
Based on these factors, here are some examples of good fonts for PowerPoint presentations in 2023.
Sans serif fonts: These are fonts that do not have small strokes or lines at the end of each character, such as Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana. They are often associated with modernity, simplicity, and clarity. They are also more readable on-screen than serif fonts, which can look blurry or pixelated.
Simple and clean fonts: These are fonts that have a clear and crisp design, without too much embellishment or decoration. They are also versatile and adaptable, as they can suit different themes and tones. Some examples are Verdana, Roboto, Fira Sans, and Montserrat.
Fonts that match the font size: These are fonts that look good at both big and small sizes, without losing their quality or legibility. They are also not too thin or too thick, as this can affect the readability of your text. Some examples are Tahoma, Segoe UI, Georgia, and Bentham.
Suggested Fonts available in standard PowerPoint versions from 2007 onwards
There is an almost unlimited number of fonts available for download on the internet, that you could choose to use for your presentations. To keep things easier, we have focused on a list of fonts that are all available in standard PowerPoint.
Some of the simple and clean fonts great for presentations and available in standard PowerPoint:
Calibri: Calibri is a sans serif font that has a modern and elegant look. It is the default font for PowerPoint since 2007 and it is very readable and versatile.
Helvetica: Helvetica is another sans serif font that has a clean and sleek look. Helvetica is one of the most popular fonts in the world and it is very clear and adaptable.
Garamond: Garamond is a serif font that has a vintage and classy look. It is very legible and stylish, as it has a distinctive contrast between thick and thin strokes.
Gill Sans: Gill Sans is a sans serif font that has a friendly and playful look. It's very readable and expressive, as it has a lot of character and charm.
You can view and compare the fonts in this screenshot:
PowerPoint 2023 Font update including Aptos
In July 2023, Microsoft introduced Aptos as the new default font for PowerPoint. Aptos is a sans serif font that has a modern look. If you are a Microsoft 365 user, you will have access to Aptos from mid 2023. Users on older versions of Office will continue to have the fonts listed above. Aptos replaces Calibri as the default font for PowerPoint (but Calibri and the other fonts listed above continue to also be available in PowerPoint!).
Along with the Aptos introduction, Microsoft commissioned the design of an additional 5 fonts which have been added to PowerPoint, Excel and Word:
Aptos: a sans serif font that has a modern look, which is being rolled out as the new default Office font for Microsoft 365 users
Bierstadt: a sans serif font, designed to be more angular and precise than Arial with high readability in mind.
Grandview: a sans serif font which has been specifically designed as a high legibility font for use in body text, on any device.
Seaford: a sans serif font inspired by old-style serif text typefaces. While Bierstadt is more angular, Seaford is more organic.
Skeena: a sans serif font inspired by traditional serif text typefaces. There is intentional contrast between the thick and thin in the strokes. Designed for body text in long documents and presentations.
Tenorite: a sans serif font, Tenorite was designed to be an easily readable font at small sizes onscreen, with larger punctuation.
You can view and compare the fonts in this screenshot:
Suggested Presentation Fonts to download for PowerPoint
If you don't like the look of any of the fonts available in PowerPoint, you can also download additional fonts. Note that you will need to also embed any non standard fonts in a presentation if you are distributing it to others (refer to the next section for how to do this).
The following fonts are Sans Serif and Serif fonts which are modern and easy to read. They are not available in standard PowerPoint, however you can easily download them online and install them for PowerPoint.
Lato: Lato is a sans serif font that has a modern and elegant look. It is very readable and versatile, as it comes in different weights and styles. Lato is recommended for both headers and body text in your presentation.
Roboto: Roboto is another sans serif font that has a clean and sleek look. It is also very readable and adaptable, as it has many variants and styles. Roboto is recommended for both headers and body text in your presentation.
Bentham: Bentham is a serif font that has a vintage and classy look. It is very legible and stylish, as it has a distinctive contrast between thick and thin strokes. You can use Bentham for headers or sub-headers in your presentation.
Fira Sans: Fira Sans is a sans serif font that has a geometric and futuristic look. It is very clear and dynamic, as it has a wide range of weights and styles. You can use Fira Sans for headers or sub-headers in your presentation.
Montserrat: Montserrat is a sans serif font that has a friendly and playful look. It is very readable and expressive, as it has a lot of character and charm. You can use Montserrat for headers or sub-headers in your presentation.
How to embed non standard fonts in PowerPoint presentations
As noted in the section above, if you choose to download a non standard PowerPoint font for your presentation, you need to embed the font in your presentation, if you plan to share the presentation electronically with others. To do this:
With your presentation open, from the PowerPoint Ribbon, click the File tab and then click Options
From the left menu select the Save tab.
The second last menu option is Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation. Check the Embed fonts in the file check box. We recommend also checking the Embed all characters (best for editing by other people) if you are intending for your presentation to be edited by others.
How to apply fonts to your PowerPoint presentation?
Once you have chosen the fonts that you want to use for your PowerPoint presentation, you need to apply them to your slides. Here are some steps to follow:
Select the text that you want to change: You can select a single word, a sentence, a paragraph, or the entire slide. You can also select multiple slides at once by holding the Ctrl key and clicking on the slides in the left pane.
Open the Font dialog box: You can open the Font dialog box by clicking on the Home tab, then clicking on the small arrow in the bottom right corner of the Font group. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + D on your keyboard.
Choose the font that you want to use: You can choose the font from the drop-down list in the Font dialog box. You can also choose the font size, style, color, and effects from the same dialog box. You can preview how the font looks like in the Sample box at the bottom.
Click OK: Once you are happy with your font choice, click OK to apply it to your selected text.
You can also use themes and templates to apply fonts to your PowerPoint presentation. Themes and templates are pre-designed sets of colors, fonts, and layouts that you can apply to your presentation with one click. You can choose from the built-in themes and templates in PowerPoint, or you can create your own or download from online sources.
To apply a theme or template to your PowerPoint presentation, follow these steps:
Open the Design tab: You can open the Design tab by clicking on it in the ribbon at the top of your screen.
Choose a theme or template: You can choose a theme or template from the gallery in the Design tab. You can also click on the Browse for Themes button at the bottom of the gallery to find more themes or templates on your computer or online.
Click on the theme or template that you want to use: Once you click on a theme or template, it will be applied to your entire presentation. You can see how it changes the colors, fonts, and layouts of your slides.
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