Finding Word's Font Substitutes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 13, 2019)


When Pierre opens a document provided to him by another person, there are times that the document will use a font that is not installed on Pierre's system. He then sees a message that says "This font has not been installed. The closest available font will be printed." Pierre wonders how he can discover which font Word will actually substitute. He can find out what font is causing the problem, but he can't seem to discover which font is being substituted for that problem-causing font.

The easiest way to figure out what font substitution Word is doing in a document is to follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the screen click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down to the Show Document Content section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Click the Font Substitution button.

What happens at this point depends on whether there are substituted fonts in your document. If there are no font substitutions within the document, Word informs you and there is nothing more to do. If there are font substitutions, Word displays the Font Substitution dialog box. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Font Substitution dialog box.

The dialog box quickly shows you the missing fonts and what Word used to substitute for each missing font. If you pick one of the missing fonts, at the bottom of the dialog box you can specify a different font to be substituted, if desired.

Note, as well, the Convert Permanently button. This button is equivalent to doing a Find and Replace to change all the missing fonts to the specified replacement fonts. It obviously affects the formatting within your document, and no more on-the-fly substitutions will occur.

If you are interested in knowing which fonts are similar to a given font, then this online resource may be instructive:

All you need to do is type in a font name and when you click the Go button you'll see typefaces considered similar to the one you questioned.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12657) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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 five minus 0?

2018-09-10 05:42:59

John M.


Where can we find the Font Substitution area in Word 365 for Macintosh?


2018-02-11 15:15:35


i try to permanently convert a font, but it does not happen. The Font Substitution dialogue shows that the font is still there being substituted. And I can not find that Font anywhere in the document. I would like to permanently get rid of that "Times" font - replace it with the default font, but it does not happen and I can not 'search' or 'find' the Font anywhere in the document - but Font Substitution says that it there. I have changed the default font, the default paragraph font, but "Times" is still seen in the Font Substitution dialogue.

2018-02-02 06:32:07


Along with Ken, I'm hoping to find out that the font substitution feature still exists in Office 2016. If it does, it looks like it has been cleverly hidden in some clever location one would never think to look. I might be able to get by with the Advanced Find and Replace in Word, but now I'm running into issues with PowerPoint, so I would really like to find the location where Office 2016 products automatically select the font because it's too much work (especially when there are multiple styles/point sizes, etc.) to change every level of every slide master. I did notice that both Word and PowerPoint are selecting the same font for the language I'm using, so I'm hoping if you know the solution in Word, I might be able to find a similar answer for PowerPoint. Thank you!

2017-11-30 20:20:44


Finding Words Font Substitute - doesn't apply to Office 2016, menu is not there

2014-07-18 10:14:05


For some reason, either an update to Word 2010 or the installation of a new printer, our company's manual covers suddenly changed fonts. This allowed me not only to find what had happened, but I was able to recover and replace the font and maintain design continuity!! Thanks!!!

2014-06-06 13:02:53

Waseem Kamal

YOU'RE AMAZING, i was so confused because i was writing a story with cool design of mine including special fonts. and by accident i had to re-install a fresh copy of windows, but i lost my fonts. and i was always ignore its names. so, i thought i lost it forever.
thanks to you, i have it again!

2013-05-28 12:45:14


Agreed - awesome tip! Love the link to identifont!!

2013-05-28 09:44:32

Glenn Case


Once you have identified the font, yoyu can go to Find/Advanced Find and select the Format button at the bottom. From the dropdown, select Font, and then select the font you want to find from there.

Hope that helps.

2013-05-28 08:06:02


I just tested the explanation, but now have another question: The Font Substitution box for the document I opened shows that Word did in fact substitute a default font (TNR, presumably) for a missing font. But how can I find where the substitution was made, since the missing font isn't available in the Search box?

2013-05-28 03:18:20


Very clear explanation and particularly useful link to website.

2013-05-25 12:42:44


I'm the user who sent the question to Allen, and want to stand up and offer a "Hallelujah!" for the wonderful way he edited my question, published it within a few days, and has now written such clear words in this tip. All that in less than two weeks from my inquiry! I already knew this to be a most wonderful site, and now I know it's awesomely responsive! A+, well earned!

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