Finding Word's Font Substitutes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 21, 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:

http://www.identifont.com/similar.html

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 Microsoft 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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