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Word 2010 typography

How to enhance your Word typography

Posted on 11 Jul 2011 at 10:58

Jon Honeyball shows you how to have fun with fonts

The intersection of art and science, or analog and digital, arguably reaches its pinnacle with typography. This much-overlooked topic is crucially important to what we see onscreen, and to how things print.

Today, it’s trivially easy to choose a font and type style, but in the past, before the days of TrueType from Microsoft and Adobe Type Manager, we had to build all those screen and printer fonts by hand. Installing them as soft fonts into a laser printer was like an exercise in brain surgery.

If you want the best control, look at Microsoft Publisher 2010, which offers live previews of the stylistic sets

Tucked away in a dusty corner of a building at Redmond is the Microsoft Typography department, whose work is rarely discussed, but here’s something I found out: Office 2010 (and 2011 for Mac) supports much enhanced typography if you know where to look. Try the new Gabriola font, and dive into the advanced typography facilities in Word | Font | Advanced | Ligatures and Stylistic Sets. Check out this document and this excellent video.

If you want the best control, look at Microsoft Publisher 2010, which offers live previews of the stylistic sets. I once rather stupidly used Publisher to make a website – the output was hilariously horrible and I’ve been put off it ever since. The 2010 edition raises the typographical stakes, and this is to be applauded.

I’ve always loved typography – the merging of vector splines with the fine art of best placing text by eye, and introducing both into the digital world of rendering and printing. When next I visit Microsoft, I want to track down this team, whose work is sorely undervalued by being reduced to a tickbox on the ninth page of the features list for Word. They deserve better than this.

Take a look at Gabriola and these other high-end fonts that Microsoft has built or commissioned, and take the opportunity to look at typography with fresh eyes.

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User comments

Pretty & boring...

The work on the font itself is excellent and a real showcase for the power of opentype.

Unfortunately the woman in the video had me falling asleep within a couple of minutes. A real shame.

By big_D on 22 Jul 2011

Digital Typography Presentations

For those interested in digital typography I can highly recommend the following talks from last year’s and this year’s Mix conferences:
Kevin Larsen – The Art, Technology and Science of Reading (
Robby Ingebretsen – Fonts, Form and Function: A primer on Digital Typography (

By Pedro on 3 Aug 2011

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Jon Honeyball

Jon Honeyball

Jon is one of the UK's most respected IT journalists and a contributing editor to PC Pro since it launched in 1994. He specialises in Microsoft technologies, including client/server and office automation applications.

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