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About Face: Choosing PowerPoint Fonts

June 23, 2014 / Blog PowerPoint Design

You have plenty to consider when it comes to choosing PowerPoint fonts. You can choose from the ones available on your computer by default.

Or you can search the Internet for downloadable fonts. With such a wide selection, how do you choose the right PowerPoint fonts? We have a few tips and reminders on that front.

Serif versus Sans Serif

When choosing PowerPoint fonts, consider the difference between Serif and Sans Serif

Notice how stems are sticking out of the letter “A” on the left? Those are called serifs. Serif font types like Times New Roman, Georgia, and Book Antiqua have a classic and formal feel to them. These associations come to us because we see these fonts used in more traditional media like books and newspapers.

Meanwhile, the letter “A” on the right is a sans serif font. Sans serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica and Calibri have cleaner lines. They evoke a more modern feel because they dominate websites and advertising.

When choosing PowerPoint fonts, consider the differences between Serif and Sans Serif.

Take note of how our cultural associations have assigned meaning to different font types. For example, it might be better to use serif fonts for PowerPoint presentations of a more formal nature. (Let’s say you’re presenting an investment pitch book.)

It’s also important to consider the aesthetics of both. Because of its clean lines, sans serif fonts are easier to read. They’re perfect for the body of your slides. Likewise, you can increase the readability of serif fonts by increasing font size. You can make use of them in title slides or headlines.

One Happy Font Family

Choose PowerPoint fonts within the same font family/typeface

Variety is an interesting element in design, and it’s better if you use more than one font for your PowerPoint presentation. However, in one of his famous slide presentations, keynote author Jesse Desjardins suggests that you limit PowerPoint fonts to only 2-3 styles. Keep your PowerPoint fonts unified by choosing ones from the same font family or typeface.

When Arial Becomes Boring

You can search the Internet for PowerPoint fonts that you can download for free

The Internet provides a wealth of font choices when you start feeling bored with the defaults on your computer. You can download great PowerPoint fonts for free at Dafont and several other websites like it allow users to upload and share fonts of their own creation.

Using these custom-made fonts allow for more creativity in your PowerPoint design. And with so many choices, you’re bound to find a font that perfectly matches the theme of your presentation.

However, keep in mind that the font you downloaded might not be installed on other computers. If that happens, PowerPoint will substitute it for another font that might skew the complete look of your slides.

To prevent this, follow these steps from Palomar College’s Terry Gray to embed fonts in your PowerPoint file. A word of caution, though: this technique will bloat your file size, so weigh your pros and cons!

Still in need of inspiration? Browse through our works to see how good font choices can make a difference in PowerPoint design.



Desjardins, Jesse. “STEAL THIS PRESENTATION!” LinkedIn. August 23, 2010. Accessed June 23, 2014.


Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons