Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 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: Understanding Font Styles.

Understanding Font Styles

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 30, 2020)

Word allows you to format your documents in many different ways. One of the ways you can format the characters within your document is through the use of font styles. The phrase "font styles" is easy to confuse with "character styles" and "paragraph styles." In Word, these latter two phrases refer to styles you can define to indicate how characters and paragraphs should look. Font styles, on the other hand, are not style definitions at all; they are variations of a font that indicate different ways that font can appear. While you can define a character or paragraph style, you cannot define a font style at all.

You probably already know that you can use different fonts for displaying characters. Each font typically comes with a number of styles in which it can be displayed. For instance, if you format a character as bold, then you have specified the Bold font style.

If you want to see the available font styles for a particular font, follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want to affect.
  2. Press Ctrl+D to display the Font dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Font dialog box.

  4. From the Font list, select the font you want to use.
  5. Examine the Font Style list to see which styles are available for the font.
  6. When you are done, click on OK.

You should note that different fonts have different font styles available. The most common font styles are Regular, Italic, Bold, and BoldItalic. This is not the limit, however, and not every font will include these four. Indeed, the styles available for a particular font are entirely up to the font designer.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13325) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Font Styles.

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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