Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Accurate Font Sizes.

Accurate Font Sizes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 24, 2019)

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You already know that Word allows you to easily change the size of your fonts. You can use either the formatting tools on the various ribbon tabs or the controls in the Font dialog box (press Ctrl+D) to set the size of the type you've selected in your document. You may not know, however, that Word can use virtually any point size you want, not just those listed in the drop-down size lists.

Font sizes are specified in points, which are a typographer's measurement roughly equivalent to 1/72 of an inch. You can either select a size from the drop-down list, or you can enter your own size. Select the size shown in the list, and then type the size you actually want. When you press Enter, the size of your selected text is changed. This is great when you want your text to be really large for special signs. For instance, you can easily set your font size to 120 or 200 points to make huge letters for a sign.

It is also easy to overlook the fact that Word can display and print fonts in increments of half a point. Depending on the typeface being used, this can make a big difference. For example, there is a very marked difference between 10- and 11-point Verdana, and 10.5 may be just what you need.

You obtain the half-sizes by typing them directly into the size box. If you try to type in any other fractional size (like 10.25 or 10.4), Word displays an error message. You can only set full point sizes or half point sizes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9171) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Accurate Font Sizes.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is seven less than 7?

2019-10-22 07:29:18

Piotr Grochowski

The point size is really 3÷4 of the ppem (pixels per em) size, not all ppem sizes have corresponding integer point sizes, so they have to insert fractional point sizes divisible by 1.5, such as 1.5, 4.5, 7.5, 10.5, 13.5, 16.5, etc.


2019-09-27 12:57:02

jon deaux

Is there a hidden setting that allows users to specify type sizes using millimeters?

Being able to use the same unit of measure (millimeters) for type sizes, leading, margins, paper sizes, et cetera would make life much simpler by avoiding conversion errors.


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