Breathe life into your fonts

The articles set out below are articles created and/or produced by Future Publishing Limited. Microsoft is not responsible for the content, accuracy or opinions expressed in these articles.


You can cook up eye-catching documents with more than just pretty graphics. We show you how to make the most of your typefaces.

Using fonts

If you've ever had trouble finding a graphic to suit a document, your easiest solution might be to use a font instead. There are plenty of good (and free) fonts available on the Web and you’re sure to find one which you can use in an exciting new way to lift a text-heavy page.

In this article you’ll see how you can best use fonts in your documents, how to find them on the Web, and how to mix and match them. You’ll see tips for using graphics software to create some neat font effects for paper documents and the Web and we even show you how to install your fonts.

We’ve used Word 97 and the Paint Shop Pro for this tutorial. However you can get similar effects using most graphics packages and word processors. If you’re downloading fonts from the Web you’ll also need WinZip or similar program to unzip font files – you can download a trial of Winzip from

Create text on its side in a shaded box using a text box. From the Drawing toolbar (View, Toolbars, Drawing) select the Text Box icon and draw a text box along the left edge of the page. Right-click the box, select Format Text Box, switch to the Wrapping tab and choose Wrapping Style: Square, Wrap to: Right. Click the Colors and Lines tab and select Line Color: No Line.

From the Fill: Color drop-down list select Fill Effects, switch to the Gradient tab and choose the Two colors option button. In the Color 1 box pick white and in the Color 2 box choose a mid blue, then click the Shading styles: Horizontal option button and pick the top-left option of the four Variants before clicking on OK twice.

Select a dark blue from the Font Color drop-down list on the Drawing toolbar. Then pick a flowery font and a large font size (we chose the Vivaldi font at 120 point size – its flourishing capital letters makes it a good choice). Then, type your text in the text box. Highlight the text, select Format, Text Direction, choose the bottom-left Orientation and click Ok.

Create a simple letterhead using a letter from a font containing ‘graphical’ characters. Here we’ve used 72-point Walrod for the letter B – this gives an attractive technical look to the letterhead. We’ve then teamed it with Engravers Gothic for the name and address details, separating each element with a small, neat diamond symbol (Insert, Symbol) from the same font.

This simple letterhead, on the other hand, uses the font Bronx Let, which has a scratchy look and which also happens to reproduce well in black and white. The address and phone details are Avant Garde Bk and have been placed in a text box which has no border and no fill (to do this, right-click it, select Format Text Box, click the Colors and Lines tab and choose Fill Color: No Fill and Line Color: No Line).

Finally, the text box has been moved under the name so the descenders of the letters ‘J’ and ‘Z’ fall in the line of the address giving it a much more ‘professionally created’ look.

Bring a table to life by using large numbers to draw attention to your points. The font here is Poptics Three and the numbers are 100 points in size. The body of the document is a table with its borders removed. A text box has been used for the two words in the heading so the two lines will sit next to the large number five.

Break up a text-heavy page by taking a quotable sentence from the text and setting it in a large font inside a text box. Add a set of quote marks, each in a separate text box so you can position them more easily. The result is an instantly more visually interesting page, without needing any graphics.

>How to install a new font

Some fonts, such as the ones from Microsoft, arrive as EXE files and they install automatically if you use Start, Run to run the file. Other fonts are plain TTF (True Type Font) files or TTF files zipped into .ZIP files. To install these follow these steps:

If your downloaded fonts are .ZIP files, use WinZip or a similar program to unzip them.

Install .TTF files by selecting Settings, Control Panel, Fonts from the Start Menu to open the font dialog. Select File, Install New Font and pick the drive and directory that holds the .TTF file. Select the fonts to install from the List of fonts box (or choose Select All) and click OK.

You can see what a font looks like by double-clicking its name in the Fonts window or using Windows Explorer to locate the Windows\Fonts directory and double-clicking the font there.

Text effects

Create the effect of an image inside your text using Paint Shop Pro and a simple photographic image or pattern:

In Paint Shop Pro, open the graphic you’ll use. The image should be fairly large – ours is 768x512 pixels so there’s enough room for the text. Note the image dimensions and resolution by selecting View, Image Information.

Create a new document using File, New and make it the same size and resolution as the image you’re using. Set the Background color to White, the Image type to 16.7 million colors (24-Bit) and click OK.

Set the foreground colour to a colour similar to the colouring of the picture and using the text tool and a large chunky font (we used MarkerFeltWide-Plain at 100 point), check the Antialias and Floating boxes, type your text and click OK. Adjust the text’s positioning and de-select it with Selections, None.

Swap the background and foreground colours by selecting the small two-headed arrow to the left of the foreground and background colour boxes on the Color Palette. Copy the entire image using Edit, Copy.

Click the image file and select Edit, Paste, As Transparent Selection and move the text until it appears in the position you want over the background image. When you have the positioning correct, use Selections, None to de-select the area. Now select the portion of the image that you want to use, crop it using Edit, Crop and save it as a .BMP or .TIFF file if you’re going to use it on paper, and .JPG if it is destined for the Web.

Insert the image in a document as you would any other image. Here we’ve teamed it with the original image inserted into a circle. To do this, make a square selection of the original image in Paint Shop Pro, select Image, Crop to Selection and save it as a .TIFF file.

In Word 97 select the Ellipse tool on the Drawing toolbar and hold the [Shift] key as you click and drag a circle. Right-click it and select Format, AutoShape, click the Wrapping tab and select Tight, Right. Switch to the Colors and Lines tab and select Line Color: No Line and click the Fill Color box to display the drop-down palette. Choose Fill Effects, Picture, Select Picture and click on your image file before clicking OK twice.

>Create your own logo

Create a unique personal logo using Paint Shop Pro and your favourite font.

Create a new PSP document and, using a black foreground and white background, select the Text tool and type a letter (we’ve used Dragonwick at a chunky 150 points).

Select red as your foreground, choose Shapes and set it to a Rectangle, Outlined style with an Outline Width of 1 and uncheck Antialias. Drag a rectangle over the left half and use the Flood Fill tool with a Fill Style of Solid Color and Opacity of 100.

Select ‘white’ and the Flood Fill tool and change the left half of the black letter to white. Use black and the Flood Fill tool and turn the red into black.

Draw a red outlined rectangle over the letter just inside the edge of the black rectangle, and a black rectangle around the entire border. Using the Paintbrush tool along the edge where the colour change will be made in the red rectangle, paint the first couple of pixels in white. Use Flood Fill with black and then white to change the remainder of the red rectangle appropriately.

Use this image in the same way you would use any graphic for a business card or letterhead. Fonts containing fancy initial letters or pictorial alphabets produce some stunning results.

How to identify, classify and use different fonts

Fonts can be loosely categorised into four main groups. If you know which group a font belongs to you can work out which fonts will go with it and which fonts it should be kept apart from.

Serif fonts have little feet or ‘serifs’ on the ends of the letters and each letter is formed by lines which vary in thickness as if the letter were drawn using a pen. The plainer serif fonts don’t draw attention to themselves and are best used for body type because they don’t fight the message your document contains. Times New Roman is a typical serif font.

Sans serif fonts are ‘without feet’ and generally they’re made up of lines which are all the same thickness, although some show slightly varying line weights. These fonts are very clean looking and the most commonly used varieties on the PC are Arial and Helvetica.

Script fonts look like they’ve been written by hand using a pen or brush. There are a huge variety of script fonts some of which form ‘joined up’ writing and others more like printing.

Decorative fonts are fun! They’re wild and easy to pick because they’re less formal. They often convey emotions or suggest places or events. Many of the free fonts you’ll find on the Web will be decorative fonts.

The trick to mixing fonts is to use strongly contrasting fonts together. So, if your body type is serif, team this with a sans serif or decorative font for your headings. Look for other contrasts too: some fonts are light and others are very dark so choosing a light font and a darker one from different categories is even better. The font combinations we’ve used here all contrast heavily.

When you’re choosing a font make sure its personality matches your message. Some fonts look very sedate and others are frivolous – a lawyer shouldn’t use Spahrty Girl or Funky for their letterhead – Engravers Gothic would be a better choice. Other fonts convey a place or an occasion: Taco Salad belongs in a Mexican restaurant, Mandarin has an Eastern feel, and Wedding text… you can guess!
This material is the copyright material of or licensed to Future Publishing Limited, a Future Network plc group company, UK 2004. All rights reserved.

Artikel-id: 835893 – senaste granskning 8 juli 2008 – revision: 1