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Decide on Classic Presentation Fonts in 5 Minutes

Much of the fonts we use come from centuries-old developments in print technology. We’re even using the same fonts from when paper dominated how we read. Classic presentation fonts have long been used to deliver a certain atmosphere and look.

While custom fonts may evoke originality and exclusivity, compatibility issues are a great concern. PowerPoint can embed fonts into a presentation, but this feature doesn’t work in Mac OSX. Avoid having a custom font automatically replaced when it can’t be found on another computer.

So give your deck a timeless look by using these fonts.

The Modern Classic

We’ve previously talked about serif and sans serif fonts. The earliest experimentation with sans serif was in the 17th century. But its usage only became commonplace in the next century.

These typefaces are popular for looking modern, simple and clean. Sans serif fonts are easy to read on the web, and is perfect for use in big bodies of text.

Gill Sans

gill sans

This is available both in Mac and Windows systems. 

Where to find: Gill Sans in Mac and Gill Sans MT in Windows. Gill Sans, named after its creator, was based on the Johnston typeface by Edward Johnston.

It’s a versatile font that is effective on the title or the body of the text in a deck. Pair it up with a serif font in your slide. For example, use Gill Sans in the body of the text, then use a serif typeface in the title and vice versa.

The Old Classics

Serif fonts are as old as printing itself. This also means that they predate sans serif typefaces. These designs are large and formal compared to the newer typefaces. It’s the official style used in legal documents and books in print.

Give your deck a serious mood by using these readily available font styles.



This is available both in Mac and Windows systems.

Where to find: Baskerville in Mac and Baskerville Old Face in Windows This was designed by John Baskerville in the late 18th century. He used his background in calligraphy and stonecutting to give this font its quality of strength.

A presentation in a formal setting will benefit from the use of Baskerville. Deliver a serious and strong first impression by using Baskerville in the title of your slide. Or give a respectable tone to the body of text in your pitch using this font.



This is available both in Mac and Windows systems.

Where to find: Bodoni 72 Oldstyle, Bodoni 72 smallcaps in Mac, Bodoni MT in Windows This bold and beautiful font was purposefully created for large prints by Giambattista Bodoni in the late 18th century. Use Bodoni to bring elegance at the front and center of your slide.

A slide will look sophisticated with Bodoni as a main header, preferably with as little text to accompany it. The effect of this font minimizes as it shrinks down, so it’s best suited in the header.

Other considerations

When compatibility isn’t a great concern, there are many more typefaces to choose from. But do think twice about the compatibility of fonts across machines over customization. Despite the great freedom it brings, the choice to use any font can still feel overwhelming.

We suggest that you use these sans serif fonts. They’re considered cult classics and look excellent in presentations:



Helvetica comes pre-installed in a Mac.

The font that even has its own movie.



Futura comes pre-installed in a Mac.

It’s so popular it reached the moon.

In Conclusion

It’s true that more and more people are reading from screens rather than pages of paper. But the timeless fonts printed media left us will endure. There’s no need to look far to find them. Your computer already comes pre-installed with these font types.

These classics never go out of style. Use them for effective and engaging PowerPoint presentations!



Farley, Jennifer. “The Sans Serif Typeface.” SitePoint. October 16, 2009. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.sitepoint.com/the-sans-serif-typeface
McDermott, Megan. “Complete Guide to Pre-Installed Fonts in Linux, Mac, and Windows.” APaddedCell. March 19, 2012. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.apaddedcell.com/sites/www.apaddedcell.com/files/fonts-article/final/index.html
Soh, Tony. “Top 30 Best Serif Fonts.” Vector Diary. December 9, 2013. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.vectordiary.com/fonts/top-30-best-serif-fonts


Featured Image: “Typewriter” by ceasedesist from flickr.com

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