back to article Microsoft demotes Calibri from default typeface gig, starts fling with five other fonts

Microsoft has decided that Calibri’s days as its default font are numbered. “We believe it’s time to evolve,” says a post by Microsoft’s design team, which reckons it’s time for a change because: “A default font is often the first impression we make; it’s the visual identity we present to other people via our resumes, …

  1. aks

    Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

    What do the new fonts look like?

    https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/28/microsofts-new-default-font-options-rated/

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

      Thanks for the link - nice insights. I completely agree re: the lowercase "e" in Bierstadt. It... is... f'ugly.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

        It's yet another attempt by Microsoft to copy Helvetica so it doesnt have to license it.

        1. Mr Dogshit

          Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

          Well DUH

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

          It's worse than that!

          I've not checked, but I would expect that these fonts are copyrighted, or at least trademarked. This means it's not legal to install them on a non-windows system.

          So, you receive a document from Office 365 with one of these fonts, load it into Google documents or Libre Office on Linux, and find that the font metrics are sufficiently different so that the documents are reformatted and don't look right, and then it's GDocs or Libre that is at fault for messing up the documents!

          Just another ploy to make Office 353 the default office suite.

          1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

            I have enough trouble with Orifice's formatting with the current fonts I do not need another set to muck things up.

            Now if the Rejects of Redmond would actually fix Bloatware-as-a-Disgrace and Orifice I would be content. I do not need any new fonts as the current ones are perfectly adequate.

          2. veti Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

            The word is "licensed", and sure, there will be a few issues like that. But then, Calibri is also licensed in the same way. Doesn't seem to have been a huge thing, though.

            In practice, it's not clear how they could exploit that position. Consider how documents are usually shared. Web? - pah, catch any web designer using a default font anyway. PDF? - embeds the fonts in the file, there'll be trouble if the license prevents them from doing that but it won't. That leaves "sharing working files", which is already enough of a nightmare that font issues are generally pretty low down the list of worries - and if they do come up, they're trivial to fix.

        3. veti Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

          Microsoft already has Arial and MS Sans for that. None of the new options looks even remotely like Helvetica.

      2. Martipar

        Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

        The 'e' looks the same in all of them. Tenorite reminds me of 'Look and Read' but it's the one i like the most but on the whole they all look largely identical.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

          It reminds me of the stencils we used to label diagrams before Letraset arrived.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

          I think the miniscule e's are significantly different. There's a substantial difference between Bierstadt's e, which almost doesn't have any opening at all, and the others; and Seaford's e is way too wide (like many of Seaford's glyphs).

          I prefer Skeena, and I see nothing wrong with its g. Bierstadt is just boring, like most grotesques. Seaford and Tenorite are too damn wide, and Tenorite is like My First Typeface with its open g and closed a. Seriously, is it intended to be printed on lined paper? Will Microsoft make "pencil graphite" the default color?

          And, as the TechCrunch article notes, the hinting for Tenorite is way off. It looks like it was kerned by ... well, by Word, but even worse than usual.

          Ain't none of 'em Palatino.

    2. LenG

      Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

      Yup, thanks for the link.

      TBH, if someone had changed it without telling me I probably wouldn't have noticed (except for Seaford, which is horrible). Overall I would prefer to stick with Calibri as the default default. But then I generally set the font to Verdana for things I have to look at for any length of time.

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

        Seaford looks to be a mix of pseudo handwriting and worn out typewriter (anyone remember those?).

    3. druck Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

      At least Tenorite has proper 'a's and 'g's, as for the others, who really cares.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

        Sure, if you're writing in crayon.

    4. Steve Graham

      Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

      I can't view that Techcrunch site. It redirects to https://guce.advertising.com/collectIdentifiers which my armour is blocking. If you can view it, your browser isn't locked down well enough.

    5. HildyJ Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

      Without seeing the full font (upper and lower case and in a paragraph) it's hard to say.

      But the only one with a definite advantage is Bierstadt because it has a lower case L that's not just a line.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

        ... the only one with a definite advantage is Bierstadt because it has a lower case L that's not just a line.

        Yes, a thousand times yes.

        The characters we need to see and compare are lower-case 'l', upper-case 'I' and digit '1', which must all be clearly distinct (and none of them should be just a line), likewise upper-case 'O' and digit '0' should be easily distinguishable.

        That said, I do like the 'a' and 'g' in Tenorite.

    6. Rafael #872397
      Meh

      Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

      Thanks for the link. Am I the only one that read "BITARSE" on the mix of letters in the first image on the article?

    7. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Evolving

      “We believe it’s time to evolve,” says a post by Microsoft’s design team, which reckons it’s time for a change because: “Without pointless changes to fonts, ribbons and the like every once in a while, we'd be out of jobs."

      FIFY

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: pointless changes to fonts

        Are you saying that there is no change to the size?

  2. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Joke

    Clippy

    It looks like you're trying to write a letter - can I help you choose a font? Please fill in this mood survey so that I can recommend the perfect font for your frame of mind.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Clippy

      Strangely for me it keeps recommending Fraktur or wingdings

  3. Totally not a Cylon
    Headmaster

    Obviously

    Everyone is wrong and it should be...

    Times New Roman.

    A more classic font from a more civilised age...

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Obviously

      "A more classic font from a more civilised age..."

      There is nothing civilised about the 1990's.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Obviously

        There is nothing civilised about the 1990's.

        Times New Roman was commissioned in 1931, not the 90s. Mind you, the 30s had the odd problem or two, more so than the 90s.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Obviously

        There is nothing civilised about the 1990's

        Times New Roman was designed in 1931. Whether the 1930s counts as a more civilised age is debatable. The decade certainly didn't end well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Obviously

          It didn't start the hot either

    2. Joe Drunk
      Trollface

      Re: Obviously

      I've always preferred Tahoma.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Obviously

        Palatino for me.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obviously

        Tacoma? A local font. Tacoma Strait. Tacoma Narrows. Tacoma Bridge, envisioned as a Times New Roman alternative, but executed like Comic Sans. Renamed 'Harbinger'.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Tacoma

          Isn't that the one where you type up your document and if you move your mouse a bit too quickly then the letters suddenly fall to the bottom of the screen into a big heap?

    3. captain veg

      Re: Obviously

      Even on modern hi-dpi screens it's still a bit eyestrain inducing in sizes appropriate to body text, at least at PC monitor scale. Maybe OK on crazy hi-def mobiles. That's why we got Calibri, which looks better on screen and worse when printed..

      -A.

    4. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Obviously

      Times New Roman?

      We're in the future now, so Microgramma Bold Extended it is.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Obviously

        Eurostile Bold or Univers 57 condensed.

        The future is FAB!

    5. Soruk

      Re: Obviously

      I tend to prefer Book Antiqua over Times New Roman.

      And for a fixed-with terminal font? Bedstead.

    6. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Obviously

      I find that a good implementation of Garamond works well on screen and gives a classic purity to printed documents, while for a bit more class, Doves Type, with its single style and weight, isn't so good on screen but is exceptional on paper.

      And solve the not-installed-here problem by distributing docs as PDF, not .doc!

      M.

      1. Anonymous IV
        Thumb Down

        Re: Obviously

        > And solve the not-installed-here problem by distributing docs as PDF, not .doc!

        That's not a solution, it's a restriction! What happens if the document needs to be further edited? Does the hapless recipient have to do a PDF-to-Word conversion, then sort out all the font and layout anomalies before editing?

    7. veti Silver badge

      Re: Obviously

      Back in the days of Times New Roman, I used to take the trouble to change the font in every document I wrote, because the font itself is unbelievably horrible to read in anything other than narrow columns on a crowded, printed page (what it was designed for). I suppose that's an upside.

    8. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Obviously

      Baskerville, please.

  4. AMBxx Silver badge
    Coat

    Fun with fonts

    Where's Brick when you need him?

    1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

      Re: Fun with fonts

      He's not at this end and he wasn't at the other end... I guess he must be somewhere else?

  5. Joe W Silver badge
    Pint

    Obviously

    Bierstadt (= beer-town), but maybe MS is too "bierernst" for that.

  6. ColinPa

    Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

    I worked with someone who had dyslexia. There are fonts that are easier to read because of the shapes of the letters ( eg b and d). I hope they consider this when choosing.

    British Dyslexia Association says - Dyslexia friendly style guide

    Use sans serif fonts, such as Arial and Comic Sans, as letters can appear less crowded. Alternatives include Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Trebuchet, Calibri, Open Sans. Font size should be 12-14 point or equivalent (e.g. 1-1.2em / 16-19 px). Some dyslexic readers may request a larger font.

    Also consider Lower case I 1, and lower case L which can all look the same

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

      I agree fonts that make it hard to distinguish between lower case L, 1 and uppercase i are annoying.

      Of course introducing new default font to Office will mean that people using old office versions or none MS products will then be complaining about documents not formatting correctly when someone has sent them something created in Office 365. Some will blame it on their software and the only solution is to get a Office 365 subscription to fix it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

        "I agree fonts that make it hard to distinguish between lower case L, 1 and uppercase i are annoying."

        Doubly so if they're used in the password field of a password manager (pwsafe, I'm looking at you). Sure, 90% of the time I can either autotype or cut and paste, but there are a few cases where manual entry is required.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

          University IT dept would issue new accounts and send out a paper letter with your new random password.

          Letter was in times new Roman with the password in an arial font that couldn't distinguish I,1,l

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

            Let me guess, the BOFH at your university also wrote the password generation script to bias 0, O, 1, I, l to be selected about 80% more often than random chance.

          2. Tim99 Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

            I *like* Arial (except for your type of edge case) - It will probably look about the same on Windows, Mac, Linux, tablets, phones...

            Calibri - Stuffing up cross-platform compatibility since Vista and MS Office 2007.

            1. the spectacularly refined chap

              Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

              Arial has been doing the same thing for years, until the other platforms were generally smart enough to realise "Arial? Oh you mean Helvetica, but you were too cheap..."

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

                The "too cheap to license Helvetica" canard is a myth.

                IBM paid Monotype to supply fonts for a pair of typesetters, in the 3800 and 4250 lines. Monotype licensed Helvetica for the latter but created Arial for the former.

                MIicrosoft subsequently paid Monotype a whole bunch of money to do further work on Arial. They could have easily licensed Helvetica with that budget.

                Mind you, I think Helvetica is overrated – it's one of those geek touchstones heavily promoted by its fans but not objectively all that interesting (and, yes, I know about the damn movie) – and Arial is no more exciting.

            2. poohbear

              Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

              Apparently things improved when Linux replicated the bugs in Microsoft's renderitg engine.

      2. Dazed and Confused

        Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

        I agree fonts that make it hard to distinguish between lower case L, 1 and uppercase i are annoying.

        I just want a version of Courier where you can easily see the difference between

        lower case L, 1 and uppercase i

        Upper case o & Zero

        These are the ones which cause the most pain when writing Linux training manuals.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

          There are lots of those. I like Lucida Console (so does Microsoft), but if you don't, there are plenty of other options. Check out Consolas, or Dina, or Bitstream Vera Sans Mono.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

        "Some will blame it on their software and the only solution is to get a Office 365 subscription to fix it."

        Anew version of the ploy that worked so well when every new version of Word had a new .doc format that wasn't backward compatible.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

      And I have a relative with the Welsh name "Ioan" - John. People who have never met this name before often mis-read it as "loan" which depending on the context can cause all sorts of confusion. This isn't something his parents obviously thought about when naming him, but then, who would?

      Just in case the difference wasn't obvious in your web browser that's

      IOAN - India, Oscar, Alpha, November

      LOAN - Lima, Oscar, Alpha, November

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: can cause all sorts of confusion

        I trust that this does not impact his credit score.

      2. the Jim bloke

        Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

        I hope he payed them back for that

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

      That's interesting about the Dyslexia Society. I am sure that last time I looked at their guidance (probably twenty years ago) they were recommending serif fonts rather than sans, simply because the characters are better defined. Didn't they also devise and give away for free their own "readable" font at one stage?

      M.

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

        Not sure if recommended by any specific Dyslexia organisation but https://opendyslexic.org/ have a free font you can use.

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Marketing at play... we'll get the same article in a couple of years.

  8. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Compatibility?

    Will this help when opening documents in LibreOffice, which (at least for me) didn't have Calibri, so substituted something else. As a result the formatting of tables was often screwed up, since the character widths were different.

    1. Steve Graham

      Re: Compatibility?

      No, it's designed not to help. Unless the author embeds the font(s) in the document file, Office downloads them on the fly. LibreOffice will probably not be able to do that. It certainly can't now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Compatibility?

        Indeed, reading this article, my very first 2 thoughts were:

        1) ... thus trying to justify that subscription fee they charge, ostensibly for making improvements, but really, well, not changing anything important.

        2) Intent may be to purposefully break compatibility with other companies' software, then point at how "incompatible" the other folks are (when it's Microsoft's fault)

  9. sawatts

    Copyright

    Will MS keep strong hold of the copyright for these fonts after they accidentally released the old set into the public domain?

    1. richardcox13

      Re: Copyright

      IANAL: Copyright only applies to the names of fonts, not the letter shapes.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Copyright

        IANAL: Copyright only applies to the names of fonts, not the letter shapes.

        Indeed YANAL. That's true in US jurisdiction, 95% of the world's population play by different rules.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Copyright

        >Copyright only applies to the names of fonts

        That's why the Acorn Archimedes famously had the same fonts but named after Cambridge colleges

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Copyright

          And they were ridiculously good implementations too. And they had display niceties such as scaffolding, hinting and sub-pixel rendering before either MacOS or Windows. I might be wrong, but I think Acorn also implemented context-dependent kerning before the others too. It was amazing how nice and readable even small-size text was on a 1024x768 screen under RiscOS.

          Trinity = Times

          Homerton = Helvetica

          Corpus = Courier

          Pembroke = Palatino

          The first three of those were in the ROM so were available on all RiscOS systems and usable as "system" fonts (i.e. for the GUI) in any size you liked because of being vector fonts, while MacOS and Windows were stuck with a very limited choice of bitmap fonts for the GUI.

          M.

      3. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Copyright

        Copyright applies to "font software", ie all the hinting stuff that makes it look good or otherwise at low resultions. Trademark applies to the names.

  10. mordac

    Skeena is the least worst?

    'e' in Bierstadt looks like it's from a different font; differentiating 'l' from upper case 'i' is nice, but it looks like it's kerned badly?

    't' in Seaford looks like it's been drawn in biro, and the 'd' is gross as well.

    'a' in Tenorite looks almost indistinguishable from 'o'. Is it my imagination or are the spaces between words uneven? It looks like some words are double-spaced.

    1. richardcox13

      Re: Skeena is the least worst?

      > 'e' in Bierstadt

      And now cannot un-see... they're all compromised in one way or another so not an easy call to have only one.

      I need to fine a long doc I need to read, and try different paragraphs in different options to check out readability at smaller sizes. As the default we'll end up see a lot of text top read in whatever the choice is.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Skeena is the least worst?

      The hinting for Tenorite is horrible.

      Some people have expressed approval for the closed a in Tenorite. They're wrong, obviously; it's a nightmarish abomination.

  11. itsborken

    Nothing substantial to do so rearrange the deck chairs. NEW AND IMPROVED...

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
      Trollface

      Nothing substantial to do so rearrange the deck chairs. NEW AND IMPROVED...

      I think the new and improved version of "rearrange the deck chairs" is "redecorate the flat".

      Hmm, no John Lewis icon.

      1. TaabuTheCat

        From one cat to another...

        You forgot the most important part - tie it to a subscription.

  12. itsborken

    No substantial changes; fiddle with typefaces, round window corners and label Windows: New and Improved.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      re: No substantial changes;

      Indeed but they'll raise the subscription just the same.

      One step forward, two steps back. Standard fare for Microsoft.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: re: No substantial changes;

        "One step forward, two steps back."

        That's not how Microsoft see it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was changing the default font

    In anyone's top ten list of improvements they'd really like Microsoft to implement?

    And if it was, why not do it yourself?

  14. Philip Storry

    This is bad typography.

    Not the fonts themselves. The very idea - one default font for Office.

    You pick the right typeface for the purpose.

    Word is likely to be used for longer texts, so something like Skeena would be the best choice, with perhaps Bierstadt for headings & titles.

    Excel is likely to have lots of small text that you need to get exactly right, so Bierstadt or Tenorite would be more suitable, but they should consider Consolas as it's very good for numbers and its fixed width nature might help in a sea of numbers...

    PowerPoint is about short, clear bits of text - so Bierstadt or Tenorite are suitable.

    But this idea that there should be one typeface that's the default across all Office products is just terrible typography. It smacks of marketing taking the lead - "We must have a consistent brand across the products!" - without actually realising what buffoons they're making of themselves.

    This is why we can't have nice things, and why people say Microsoft has no style.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Windows

      But what about all those people who insist on putting massive tables into word and calling it a spreadsheet? Or using word to design presentations?

      1. Sid Sinister
        Devil

        There is always comic sans for those people

      2. SteveK

        I reserve a special part of hell for the people (and I'm not just talking one or two) who over the years, when asked to provide a photo of something for a website or whatever, have taken or obtained a suitable photo in digital form, inserted it into Word and sent me the resulting document.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          word doc != artwork

          And oh, how they HOWL with indignation when one has to charge for the time required to extract said artwork (or, worse, try to recreate it in $image_editor) when the estimate quite clearly states "Word documents are not artwork, charges will apply if this is what is provided" (in the same size font and text block as the rest of the information, we deliberately did not hide it in a dark corner of the T's and C's). I get that my world (image creation and editing) is different to that of our customers who may not have graphics as part of their daily life, but still ... yeesh.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: word doc != artwork

            Perhaps as a graphics person you can answer this question then. I understand the people who simply can't get their heads around "please provide an image of 2560×640 pixels" at all* and provide an image in a portrait-formatted PDF, or point me at the front page of the website and ask me to "copy something from there"; in our case they are often running small charities or the like and while they might have had a logo designed professionally, everything else is done by Jane in the office who can work Word. I'll happily wrangle something to suit in most of those instances.

            What I can't understand is those outfits which obviously have a graphics department because my request for 2560×640 pixels comes back with something at exactly the correct aspect ratio, but completely the wrong numbers of pixels - often something huge like 12800×3200.

            And then they moan if they've included lots of text (against my recommendation) and when I scale it down it becomes a bit of a blur.

            My brother has been a graphic designer all his life, and I have never had problems with things he's done, though our "work" paths don't cross that often :-)

            *It's a particular issue where I work because I run a fleet of projectors. The two projections most often used during corporate events / wedding hire etc. are both awkward resolutions. One is the aforementioned 2560×640, the other was 3072×423 until the last refit, and is now 3840×528.

            M.

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              Re: word doc != artwork

              What I can't understand is those outfits which obviously have a graphics department because my request for 2560×640 pixels comes back with something at exactly the correct aspect ratio, but completely the wrong numbers of pixels - often something huge like 12800×3200.

              I'd be happy to receive an oversized image. Nothing really wrong with that and I can always scale it down.

              What really gets to me is when asking for a particular (high) resolution what the sender does is to take an appalling version of the image, one that looks like it may have been printed and photocopied at least twice, then scanned, enlarged, taken a screen shot of using a crap mobile phone, then saved wown to jpeg with a quality of something under 50% followed by being enlarged to the requested resolution.

              Extra points if they can screw up the aspect ratio multiple times as well or make it look like they have converted the image to 256 colours at one point too.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: word doc != artwork

            "for the time required to extract said artwork "

            Right click>Edit in external tool>Save from Gwenviews

            Takes seconds, always assuming that what's embedded isn't some stupid resolution or a humungous image of which only a tiny portion is on view. (I had a word document which included two tiny portraits. It turned out that both were on the same original image of a page and the entire page image was embedded twice. Why do WP programs say "Crop" when they don't mean it?)

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "when asked to provide a photo of something for a website or whatever, have taken or obtained a suitable photo in digital form, inserted it into Word and sent me the resulting document."

          Or worse, put photos into a document and then scale rather than resize to fit the page layout they want so you get a many MB document that should only be a MB or 3.

      3. katrinab Silver badge
        Flame

        Or those people who use Outlook as an Excel file transmission tool, and Excel for everything else.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree, at least since I learned how to paste with destination formatting.

      Now if that was only the default paste setting on office...

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Now if that was only the default paste setting on office...

        Entirely appropriate for Word - which people seem to have forgotten is actually a "word processor", not a "desktop publisher" - certainly would be enormously useful for Excel and is the only sensible option for Powerpoint, but perhaps a case could be made for source-formatting in Publisher, though it really depends on what you are doing. Either option can make chains of emails look an utter mess in Outlook.

        I'll usually go out of my way to copy text without formatting at all, and I think I'm the only person in my organisations who has Outlook set to "plain text" by default.

        M.

    3. richardcox13

      > You pick the right typeface for the purpose.

      That would mean people knowing the first thing about typography. Which clearly they don't. I suspect that 99% of all documents use whatever is`the default in the application used to initially create the document.

      And this applies to every spreadsheet, presentation, etc. as well.

  15. Atomic Duetto

    Oh my Golgafrincham

    I feel like we’ve finally boarded the B-Ark, Hesus!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Oh my Golgafrincham

      We would no longer be able to build a B-Ark.

      The management consultants would be too busy market researching a logo that can be fitted nasely

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    In other words: differences so minor only a typeface dweeb would notice.

    Wait ... aren't typfaces copyrighted? A light dawns ...

    Also, never understood the fury over comic sans. You don't like it, paint it and replace it with wingdings.

    1. ITS Retired

      Re: Bah!

      Yeah, really. Most people don't care, don't know one font from another. The commonly used fonts look pretty much alike anyway.

      I like Comic Sans. Easy to read, eye catching for short pieces of information.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        I like Comic Sans. Easy to read, eye catching for short pieces of information.

        It works well in small doses - which is exactly what it was designed for - but it is entirely inappropriate for the body text of whole documents, and it is so over-used now that I almost get a physical reaction to seeing it. I could say the same about Ariel, which just grates for some reason which Helvetica doesn't - though Helvetica isn't one of my "favourite" fonts.

        People use Comic Sans because they think it makes their missive look more "friendly" or "approachable", but in reality it makes it look like something created by the mid-set year 4 group creating a poster advertising the school sports day, and not like an important corporate policy document on mental health.

        I don't think it's a terribly easy font to read either, well, large tracts of it anyway.

        I do yearn for the "old days" of limited fonts - the vast number of mostly mediocre fonts supplied by default with most operating systems (and the OpenSuse that I use is particularly awful in this regard) make it very difficult to persuade some people that sticking to one or two well-designed fonts and weights is just better.

        M.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Bah!

          I worked for a short time at a company where the director's choice of font was one where the the number one, lower case "L" and uppercase "i" were all identical. As were the number zero and the uppercase "O".

          This was a finance company and it was impossible to read anything reliably.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      In other words: differences so minor only a typeface dweeb would notice.

      From the techcrunch example-

      ..there’s no distracting tail on the a, among other things

      Of all the things in the world I've found to distract me, the presence, or lack of a tail on an 'a' has never been one. I think someone who was so easily distracted would distract me more*. Or possibly amuse me**.

      *I guess I could write "You're fired!" rather than "You are fired!" so they'd get the message, without being distracted.

      **If I had the stomach for diving deep into MS programming, I'd contemplate a document convertor that could randomly change the font of every vowel. I think I know enough about fonts (use Arial, or else) to know it'd make for a fugly document though.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        I think I know enough about fonts (use Arial, or else improve things by using any font that doesn't have either the India/lima/one or Oscar/one problem)

        FTFY

  17. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Don't follow the Germans on this…

    The Microsoft Blog has some pretty, and pretty useless pictures of the new typefaces but apparently no playground for users to try them out: surely no problem with WOFF but whatever.

    I've always hated German road signs and the typefac they use. They are not at all averse to mixing different sizes, but basically they're decorative and explain why, before the era of sat navs, many Germans tried to memorise the routes before setting off, or even doing trial runs.

    Of the typefaces and road signs that I know I do like both the UK ones – it helps being able to say "The North", "The South" but this isn't always possible – and the Dutch ones which apparently use the typeface from the US highways, though points can be deducted for "andere richtingen" being used too often and more than a few people wondering why the never get there.

    But Microsoft has rarely got it right with typefaces. Even the almighty Apple backtracked slightly from force feeding everyone the designer's favourite Neue Helvetica because, even on hi-res screens, it still takes sophisticated hinting to render nicely.

    But for my own stuff I use the Le Monde Journal typeface. I remember when it was introduced for the paper after extensive testing and concurred that it was a distinct and distinctive improvement without being OTT: great at different sizes and has an extremely legible italic. YMMV

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Don't follow the Germans on this…

      UK roadsigns are a fantastic example of joined-up design and practicality. It's a shame some of the newer generation of signs (particularly those used for local attractions) don't quite "get" it and try to copy the format but get it utterly wrong.

      The design team behind the signs has had some recognition over the last few years, for example: The road sign as design classic and Margaret Calvert on her favourite road signs and working with Banksy.

      Your Le Monde Journal typeface is rather good, in a modern, slightly "spiky" way. If it weren't so much money I'd be tempted to install it at home for use instead of my go-to Palatino or Garamond. Palatino has always been a little too "wide" for my liking, though I love the design. Garamond just gets it right most of the time.

      At work, of course, with a printing buff as one of my bosses, I usually produce documents for him in Doves Type. It's quite a pleasing typeface on the page (not so much on screen), but I think he likes it more than anything else because of the story.

      M.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Don't follow the Germans on this…

        The Margaret Calvert video on the BBC is not about fonts in detail but is an excellent explanation of the reasons we chose fonts because it focuses on the reading environment.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Don't follow the Germans on this…

        Thanks for the links and additional information. Good road signs are a great advert for the importance of design. The story of Frutiger and Roissy Airport is also interesting. And Microsoft did learn some lessons from that. Unfortunately, and this happens only too often, it decided that it wouldn't limit the number of tiles. And it added animations.

        Limits are important. I remember driving around the Scottish Highlands a few years ago and being not just overwhelmed but downright confused with the signs along Loch Ness: too many places in two languages.

  18. grumpyoldeyore
    Coffee/keyboard

    Who wrote those descriptions?

    Vogon poets?

    "expresses simplicity and rationality in a highly readable form"

    "gently organic and asymmetric forms"

    "distinctive slice applied to the ends"

    "traditional workhorse sans serif but with a warmer, more friendly style"

  19. JDPower666

    Just get on with it and pick comic sans

  20. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    New Fonts

    Don't they have to be baptised?

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: New Fonts

      No, these days Microsoft are just washing their hands in fonts.

  21. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Default fonts

    Beyond the basic You have to have a font to get started on a document, there is no point to such a thing.

    Having a selection of good fonts, maybe even recommended ones for certain roles, is fine. But the idea of a special default font that has characteristics belong legibility and ubiquity ( for general use by the majority ofusers who simply aren't bothered) is pure nonsense

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Default fonts

      Do you want to require everyone to select a font before they can start typing?

      I would not consider that and improvement, and I don’t think many people would.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Default fonts

        I did state that. But a default font is just that. A basic, lowest common denominator, font to use if you don't want to choose one before you get started. One, simple, general purpose start-up font. And once you have that you don't need other default fonts - ever. You just need fonts.

  22. Gavin Jamie

    Ascender

    Seem to be taller than the capital letters in Skeena and Tenorite. Also Calibri to an extent. I would prefer that they weren't.

  23. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    I want a seraph font

    They are just plain more readable.

    1. skeptical i
      Angel

      Re: I want a seraph font

      Not by the printer's devil they're not.

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: I want a seraph font

      That would definitely need to be baptised.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Times New Roman, Verdana or Tahoma here. Everything else is pretty much just cruft that I've never used since I first got a PC and using Gothic sans seemed interesting.

    As for education, you'll never move them away from Comic Sans. I'm led to believe there are even justifiable reasons for using it.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > I'm led to believe there are even justifiable reasons for using it.

      For very young children (under 6) the 'a' in Comic Sans is beneficial because it is round like a hand-written 'a' rather than 'curly' as is the norm in most fonts. Just one less thing to confuse a child who is learning to read and write.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        There are plenty of other fonts with a "round" a. Some of them have been designed specifically for early readers and are used by the likes of the Oxford Reading Tree and (in days gone by) Ladybird books.

        M.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Best kids' font is Sassoon. Designed by the renowned handwriting expert Rosemary Sassoon.

          I found this source,

          https://www.wfonts.com/font/sassoon

          and this

          https://morrellshandwriting.co.uk/sassoon-font/

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Second that. I had a copy of Sassoon as soon as it became available for Acorn's font system. Not entirely sure where it's gone now, but I'm not doing so much writing for small children these days :-)

            M.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Upvote for Ladybird books - fond but distant memories of teaching the kids to read. Not so much for your Oxford Reading Tree which want to use Javascript to do anything at all - why?

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. JimTO

    Solution looking for a problem?

    If you look at all 5 "new" fonts there is very little difference from Calibri. This smells like someone in MS marketing trying to justify their existence.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Solution looking for a problem?

      The Techcrunch article linked previously shows them all to have different metrics. That's a significant difference because it buggers up layouts.

  27. Ian Mason

    Bierstadt

    Bierstadt looks a bit fuzzy to me, and I expect it's going to look a lot less attractive in the morning.

  28. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Headmaster

    More fonts ?

    I still get flashbacks to the early days of "Desktop Publishing".

    Twenty fonts and three different border styles on a simple A5 sized flyer ...

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: More fonts ?

      It got better if the culprit had a colour printer as well.

      I once received a CV like that. It got "filed" instantly.

  29. John H Woods Silver badge

    Give me ...

    Computer Modern or give me death

  30. martinusher Silver badge

    I'm an Arial person

    Been using it for years with occasional diversions into fixed space fonts like Courier for listings and tables.

    Its universal, its easy to read and I'm one of those "if it ain't broke don't fix it" sorts.

  31. Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds)

    American Psycho

    The fonts remind me of the business card scene in American Psycho. They are all essentially the same, yet they have different names, like a paint catalogue's white tint page, with fifty different names for the same shade of white. Still, whatever font Paul Allen chooses will be the reason why he gets invited to sit on the plastic sheeting to the soothing tunes of Huey Lewis and the News.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: American Psycho

      "like a paint catalogue's white tint page, with fifty different names for the same shade of white."

      From experience working with equivalent in textiles the many shades of white and many shades of black are real, especially when you run chromatograms of the latter.

      1. Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds)

        Re: American Psycho

        Good point. To an observer of discerning ability, there is a difference. I know that while Uranium-238 and Uranium-235 are very hard to tell apart or separate for that matter, one is better at fission than the other.

        I am not an observer of subtle differences, like I can not tell if my beloved has changed her hair style or colour, or wears a special fragrance just for me.

        Thanks to my special ability of dulled senses, I can truly enjoy 128kbps MP3s, watch 640x480 video on a 1080 screen and be able to live with people with serious body odour issues.

        Sometimes, that is enough.

  32. hayseed

    Evolution

    > “We believe it’s time to evolve,”

    I know I have seen this movie before ...

  33. CuChulainn

    Oh, wow. Flashbacks!

    When I worked in the rat race, the company I was with was almost totalitarian with its protection of the company image. The logo could not be manipulated or re-sized in any way, and all company documents and communications outside email had to be Times New Roman. There were internal legal documents detailing the measurements and requirements.

    In the early 90s, they brought in 'teamworking'. The new belief was that all knowledge lay with the shopfloor, and the highly qualified people who managed it were merely peripheral. This was made worse by the fact that many 'peripheral' people embraced this change in their new roles as 'facilitators' (aka 'get on board with the programme or you're out of a job').

    Consequently, one 'working group' of facilitators and shopfloor staff (aka a manager and his underlings) came up with the idea of changing the company font. And they changed it to Comic Sans. The idea was that it was 'more friendly and team-like'. And senior management - bearing in mind the previous draconian protection of the corporate image - pretty much had to accept it under the teamworking rollout.

    But the problem was we were a blue chip pharmaceutical company. We manufactured products for global pharma companies, and that meant they all had to have up to date copies of our SOPs in order to maintain their product licences for drugs sold around the world. And overnight, we simply reprinted all of ours - hundreds of them - just to change the bloody font. And to Comic Sans, at that.

    Customers went ballistic. Several said Comic Sans 'wasn't very professional', and that was above and beyond the enormous amount of work we'd created for them for no good reason. And our internal legal department was seriously affected too, not least because 100 years of policy (and those who worked on it) was binned overnight.

    I had to agree on the professionalism thing.

  34. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    From the MS link referenced in the article...

    Use cloud fonts to make sure your slides and documents look the same, no matter where you open them or who else views them.

    To get the cloud fonts, your device needs to be online and connected to the Internet. In apps running on Windows, go to File > Account, select Manage Settings under Account Privacy, and turn on Optional connected experiences. Clearing the check box turns off cloud fonts and other online services from Microsoft.

    ===

    Ok, so you share a document using a "cloud font" with someone who has the cloud fonts checkbox cleared. How does that first paragraph work if the fonts are not embedded?

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