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This chapter is from the book

What About Fonts?

Remember the two resources mentioned earlier for design? When I want to work with fonts, I go back to information that I have learned from attending sessions given by Julie Terberg, a frequent contributor to Presentations Magazine.

She divides fonts up into five families (no, not those kinds of families).

Serif fonts are considered very business-like and studious—they're the ones that have little extra design elements (or serifs) at the end of the letters. They originally came from the type or print world, and they don't always project very well.

Because we've been talking about creating a clean or more modern-looking design for our presentations, the fonts we might want to concentrate on are the sans serif family (without the design elements, hence cleaner). The good news is that these are also more legible than serif fonts, and as Julie says, "Many professionals consider sans serif fonts to be the best choice for presentation design."

Script fonts, or those resembling handwriting, are a better choice for special effects. Symbol fonts include elements not found in the common alphabet and are sometimes good for special bullets. Display fonts are similar to the WordArt styles, and if you were to design an entire presentation using them, you'd be lucky if the audience just walked out and didn't murder you.

In terms of digital fonts, there are Type 1 (or Postscript) fonts available for higher-end printing, but you really want to stick with the Windows TrueType fonts for PowerPoint and other types of projected presentations.

A rule of thumb is that the farther afield you go in terms of creative fonts, the more trouble you may get into. Besides the design issue, if you download and use an esoteric font and forget to embed it with the presentation, if the file is moved to a machine where that font is not registered, you can have a nightmare on your hands just before you go on. (See the Tip about using Replace Fonts and Adobe Type Manager later in this chapter.)

Figure 2-25 gives you some idea of the representative fonts available in PowerPoint in the Five Font Families.

Figure 2-25

Figure 2-25 Julie Terberg's concept of the Five Font Families can help you choose the correct one for your presentation or make appropriate substitutions.

Be careful about using lots of different fonts. It's one of the best ways to really annoy an audience because lots of different and weird fonts can make a presentation illegible on the screen and hard to follow.

Having said that, additional fonts are available in MS Publisher, which is now part of many versions of MS Office.

To install a new font, just open Fonts in Control Panel, click the File menu, and choose Install New Font. If you downloaded it, browse to the drive and folder location and add the font to those already loaded on your system.

To figure out just which fonts are currently in use in a given presentation and modify them if necessary, just choose File > Properties > Contents (see Figure 2-26).

Figure 2-26

Figure 2-26 The Contents panel of Slide Properties lets you see the fonts in your presentation, as well as slide titles and design templates.

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