Here are answers to some common questions about fonts.

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What's a font?

A font is a collection of numbers, symbols, and characters. A font describes a certain typeface, along with other qualities, such as size, spacing, and pitch.

What font types are included in Windows?

TrueType fonts and OpenType fonts come with Windows. They work with a variety of computers, printers, and programs.

Why is it important to understand the differences between font types?

Certain font types will work with your computer and printer and others won't. Like files, a particular font type is compatible with certain programs on specific systems.

TrueType fonts can be scaled to any size and are clear and readable in all sizes. They can be sent to any printer or other output device that is supported by Windows. OpenType fonts are related to TrueType fonts, but typically incorporate a greater extension of the basic character set, such as small capitalization, old-style numerals, and more detailed shapes, such as glyph and ligatures. OpenType fonts are also clear and readable in all sizes and can be sent to any printer or other output device that is supported by Windows.

PostScript fonts are smooth, detailed, and high-quality. They are often used for printing, especially professional quality printing often used for books or magazines.

Which font will work best for me?

It depends. If you just want a font that prints well and is easy to read on the screen, then consider using a TrueType font. If you need a large character set for language coverage and fine typography, then you might want to use an OpenType font. If you need to print professional quality print publications, such as glossy magazines, or you need to do commercial printing, PostScript is a good choice.

Can I make on-screen fonts clearer?

Yes. Typically, the higher the dots per inch (DPI), the better the fonts will look. For more information, see Make the text on your screen larger or smaller.

If you set the DPI higher than 96, and you are running Windows‌ Aero (the premium visual experience of Windows Vista), the text and other items on the screen might appear blurry in some programs that are not designed for high–DPI display in this version of Windows. You can avoid this issue by using Windows XP style DPI scaling for these programs.

To make text and on-screen items clearer in programs that aren't designed for high DPI

  1. Open Personalization by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Personalization.

  2. In the left pane, click Adjust font size (DPI). Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. In the DPI Scaling dialog box, click Custom DPI.

  4. Select the Use Windows XP style DPI scaling check box, and then click OK.

To improve readability, you can also adjust ClearType, which is on by default. For more information, see Make text easier to read using ClearType and Getting the best display on your monitor.

Should I be aware of any issues when installing fonts?

Yes. If you install a TrueType font with exactly the same name as a PostScript font on the same computer, Windows won't know which one to access, which could result in a font type being altered. To avoid this, try not to install different types of fonts with the same name.

Where can I find more fonts?

There are over 100,000 digital fonts in existence. Your best bet is to contact one of the font distributors listed on the Microsoft Typography website.

Some type designers give away their fonts for free, but most type designers and collectives (known as font foundries) charge money for the fonts they produce. The Microsoft Typography website lists font foundries where you can get fonts for free, as well as font foundries that charge for fonts.