tuesday tech tip

Tuesday Tech Tips – Microsoft Word Default Font

I thought I’d start a new series of Tuesday Tech Tip articles based on questions and comments I’ve seen recently on Tumblr and other social sites about annoyances or confusion with Microsoft Office. It seems that many stem from software being easy to use but not always used effectively, in part, because people don’t know to look for simple fixes that could make their lives easier. If you have any questions that you’d like to submit for future Tuesday Tech Tips, I’d welcome your input.

The first few tips come from questions by frustrated students who find they are making the same formatting changes over and over when working on papers for class. The first issue is that Microsoft Word’s default font in versions 2007 and 2010 is Calibri but APA formatting and the like require as well as many workplace situations require Times New Roman or Arial (or some other font).

Most users just select Ctrl + A to select the contents of the body of the document and change the font. There are two problems with doing it this way. First, this method only changes it for the document you are currently working on and you have to change it again for the next document. The other problem is that it just applies a layer of manual formatting, rather than addressing the Styles that are applied in the document.

And here’s my little off-topic rant for the day. I hear people say they don’t use Styles. Sorry kids, but if you are using Microsoft Word you are using Styles. You just may be using them poorly or not consciously. But we’ll do more about Styles on another Tuesday. For now just know that selecting all of the text and changing the font doesn’t fix things like your page numbers or footnotes in the way you might expect.

Instead of changing the font each time a new document is created, you can change it once and have new documents you create already know what the “correct” font should be. Simply go into the Font dialog box as you normally would to change the font (you don’t have to have anything selected). Choose the font you want to apply to your document and then click Set As Default in the lower left corner of the Font dialog box.


You will then be prompted to make the change for This document only? or All documents based on the Normal.dotm template? If you know you always use Times New Roman, or whatever font you selected, then choose option 2 and let Word know that all new documents should use your desired font.

It only takes a couple of seconds to change this and will save you countless minutes of annoyance in the future.

Again, if you have a question, send it in and I’ll try get it spotlighted as a Tuesday Tech Tip.