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Choosing the Right Fonts for Your Presentation

Back in the day, when a global connectivity system, computers, and all these technological advancements were decades, even centuries, away from being invented, no one had the trouble of choosing what font to use for their works. Everything that people had—some without much choice—were their hands and what amounted to pens. Getting something on paper was all manual labor, and how readable manuscripts were depended not only on the conventions and foundations of the language but also on how legible their penmanship was.
Now, though, almost everything has become digital: messages, word-processing programs, presentations, and the like. Fitting, then, that with technology came another host of problems. Technology isn’t perfect; it gave people the power of choice from an infinite number of many things: colors, fonts, layouts, images, etc.
Since the birth of PowerPoint, presenting has never been the same. Now, there are more stuff to consider when making your deck. From background to theme and, yes, fonts. How do presentation designers decide what to use? More importantly, how do you choose the perfect typeface for your slides? By answering three main questions:

1. What is my message?

Choosing the Right Fonts for Your Presentation: What is my message?
Along with that is a follow-up question: “How do I say my message?” Your topic and how you present your data are factors that affect your decision with which font to use.
If your topic is serious, then it begets an authoritative font, like the thick Rockwell or the aptly named Impact. But, if you like a quirky and light-hearted font for your topic, then something along the lines of Tahoma, Segoe, and Verdana can do the trick. When you know how font personalities affect readers’ perception, then you can easily narrow down your choices and find the one that’s apt with the gravity of your message.
The worst you could do is mismatch your fonts with your theme. Have you even seen a public service announcement that used Symbol (which, for those who are unfamiliar, are letters from the Greek alphabet)? And please, no matter what, don’t use Wingdings. Your font must be appropriate. You don’t want another case of Comic Sans, do you?

2. Is it readable?

Choosing the Right Fonts for Your Presentation: Is it readable?
You could answer that question in two approaches: font type and font size.
In general, there are four font classifications: serif, sans serif, script, and decorative. Of the four, the first two are most widely used. Fonts belonging to the serif family are great for print since, even with small sizes, their serifs provide space and fluidity for continuous reading. Sans serif are best used when large and projected onscreen because they are clear in the sense that when serif fonts are projected, the thinner strokes of the letters tend to be muddled or appear broken-up.
As for a specific font size, a good rule to live by is Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule: 10 slides in 20 minutes with 30 font size. Maximum readability even for the people at the back is guaranteed. If anything, you could even go bigger, especially when you have a single word on your slide. It’s easily read, impactful, and memorable.

3. How many should I choose?

Choosing the Right Fonts for Your Presentation: How many should I choose?
This goes over into consistency territory.
You’re already having trouble deciding one font; what more two or three? Generally, the usual advice is to have two complimenting fonts, a pair that doesn’t take away or fight for attention with each other. Typically, the best pair is a serif-sans serif combination, like the classic Times New Roman and Arial. But if you know font personalities, for the right topic and with the right approach, even a sans serif-sans serif combo will work in unexpected ways, like Cubano and Nunito.
Of course, you don’t need to use different fonts. A major point of using combos is to highlight certain parts of your content, and stylizing a keyword or an important point differently draws attention to it.
Choosing the perfect font to use on your slides is seldom easy. You could fall back to the old mindset of “As long as it’s readable,” but almost everyone does that; thus, you get the ubiquity of certain “standard” fonts that are now recommended to be avoided.
Experiment with your presentation. Answer the three questions above, and you’ve got a narrow pool to choose from. When you get the harmony you’re looking for, you can then wow your audience with your talk.
If you want to know more, watch this short video from our PowerPoint design agency, SlideGenius.


Agarwal, Amit. “What Are the Best Fonts for Presentation Slides?” Digital Inspiration. July 17, 2012.
Cass, Jacob. “15 Stunning Font Combinations for Your Inspiration.” JUST™ Creative. May 5, 2015.
Cournoyer, Brendan. “What Are the Best Fonts for Killer Presentations?” Brainshark. March 29, 2012.
Erickson, Christine. “Not My Type: Why the Web Hates Comic Sans.” Mashable. October 3, 2012.
Gabrielle, Bruce. “The #1 Best Advice for Choosing PowerPoint Fonts.” Speaking PowerPoint. December 5, 2011.
Haley, Allan. “Type Classifications.” n.d.
Kawasaki, Guy. “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” December 30, 2005.

2 Easy Ways to Avoid Missing Fonts in PowerPoint 2013

Launching a presentation that fails to display your font choices can be disappointing. Not only can this scenario be completely avoided with a few simple checks, but it’s also a waste of time invested in picking a set of fonts that match your pitch.

The problem happens when the fonts you used are unavailable on the computer you’re using for your presentation. Here are two easy ways to help you display custom fonts in your deck:

I. Embed Fonts

Embed fonts in PowerPoint first to guarantee font compatibility when transferring your deck to another computer. Follow these steps so that your fonts won’t go missing during a presentation:

1. Click the File tab on the ribbon. You’ll be taken to the Backstage view.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013

2. Click on Options at the bottom of the vertical ribbon.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013 steps

3. A window called PowerPoint Options will appear. Click on Save in the left column.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013

4. Scroll down further and check the box for Embed fonts in the file under the heading that says Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation.

5. Select Embed only the characters used in the presentation (best for reducing file size).

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: embed only

6. Click OK.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: click ok

Your custom fonts should now be embedded within the presentation. This method eliminates the need of having to install your custom fonts to every computer that will view the presentation.

II. Save as PDF

When you’re pressed for time, saving your presentation as PDF is also a great alternative. It’s ideal for maintaining the appearance of fixed slide layout and fonts. However, this format will be unable to play animations, so do take note if your pitch needs to be viewed with dynamic animation.

1. Click on the File tab, select Export, then choose Create PDF/XPS Document.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: create as pdf

2. Click on Create PDF/XPS.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: create as pdf / xps

3. A confirmation window will appear. Put a check next to Open file after publishing, below Save as type.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: open file after publishing

4. Enable Standard (publishing online and printing).

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: standard publishing

5. Give a file name for your presentation, then click Publish in the lower right corner.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: click publish

Have a Backup Plan

Using great font combinations for your PowerPoint slides can give your presentation maximum readability. There’s also the added bonus of making your deck stand out from a sea of boring, default font types with a custom font unique to your presentation.

That’s why instances like missing fonts and changes in font formats may put a dent on your well-designed deck. This doesn’t have to happen. Embed your fonts within PowerPoint 2013 to ensure that your custom fonts appear exactly as you want them to during your pitch. You also have the option to save your file as a PDF when you’re in a pinch. Although you’ll preserve the appearance of your slides, a PDF file can’t play any animations that you’ve set in each slide.

Choose among these two easy options so that your fonts won’t disappear when you have a big presentation coming up.



“How to embed fonts in PowerPoint.” Microsoft. n.d.
“Troubleshoot font problems.” PPTools. n.d.

Saving Typeface: Tips for PowerPoint Presentation Fonts

A good presentation comes in a package. This includes an effective speaker supported by powerful visuals. A PowerPoint that complements your performance is essential in leaving a lasting impact on people. There are many aspects of visual design, and among one of the most important is your choice of fonts.

While crowding text is highly discouraged, text isn’t necessarily banned from your slide deck. Arranging text strategically in your PowerPoint and choosing the right font style and size can drive home a powerful message.

But that’s often easier said than done. How do you use text to communicate to your audience? Which fonts prompt a response? We attempt to answer these questions with a few basic rules:

Limit the Fonts You Use

Familiarizing yourself with the pros and cons of both serif and sans serif fonts will save you time choosing between them. However, there are several font types, and deciding which one to use is still pretty tricky. Using three or more fonts is already a bit of a handful.

According to Engage Interactive developer, Jamie Wright, if you can’t justify your use of a third font, it would be good to keep it out of the picture. Too many fonts can be confusing for your audience. You want your audience to focus on your speech, not on a distracting font. If you want to draw your audience’s attention to the text on the slide, try combining font types.

For example, serif fonts are often used for the body of text, while sans serif fonts are used as headlines. Because sans serifs are easier to read, using them for a headline draws immediate attention. On the other hand, serifs guide the eyes with their design, making them better for longer blocks of texts. Knowing the strengths of different font types will let you use them to your advantage.

Consider Readability

Size matters. Unless you intend to have it invisible to the viewer, your text should be readable. Color also plays a huge role in presentation design. The color you choose evokes a psychological response on your audience. Audience members respond differently to different types of colors. But also make sure your words are visible by choosing a color that contrasts with its background.

Contrast is a key element of text readability. Low-contrast text and text with color similar to its slide are unreadable. People won’t be able to get the message of your presentation if they can’t see what’s on your slide. At the same time, don’t overdo it.

Don’t sabotage yourself with flashy, animated text. Keeping your text simple yet readable is enough to keep your audience’s attention.

The Font that Must Not Be Used

Aside from bullet points, another PowerPoint taboo is the use of Comic Sans. The Comic Sans font has gained a bad rap for a number of reasons. Among these is the font being overused in inappropriate situations. While there is nothing wrong with this font per se, you wouldn’t want to be associated with it.

The general disapproval of Comic Sans is enough to discredit any presentation that makes use of the infamous font. If you want to look for similar but less stigmatized options, there are alternatives to choose from. Ban Comic Sans, an organization dedicated to eradicating the notorious font, provides an entire list on their site.

But still use them wisely. Don’t go for unconventional fonts on a whim. Always think about the effect your font will have on your presentation.


When organized strategically, text can enhance presentation design. In order to maximize the element of text, consider the fonts you use. Don’t saturate a slide with several fonts unless you can justify it. Be aware of font size and color. Any text you put on a slide must always be clear and readable to your audience. Similarly, don’t go over the top with your design.

Unconventional fonts can be distracting. The main purpose of your font choice is to emphasize what you’re trying to say, not draw attention to itself.

If you want professional help in deciding how to organize your PowerPoint, contact our SlideGenius experts today and get a free quote!



“Fonts.” Ban Comic Sans. Accessed October 8, 2015.
Wright, Jamie. “How Many Fonts Is Too Many Fonts?” Engage Interactive. Accessed October 8, 2015.
Spector, Lincoln. “Six PowerPoint Nightmares (and How to Fix Them).” PCWorld. Accessed October 8, 2015.


Featured Image: “Stencil Font” by Cory Schmitz on

3 Lessons on Choosing Fonts for Your PowerPoint Design

Choosing fonts for your PowerPoint design can be a bit overwhelming. Considering options you have available, it can be hard to make a choice that will work well with your presentations. There are default typefaces available on your computer, and there are also fonts you can download from the Internet.

In that wealth of choices, you’ll find a variety of different designs and aesthetics. When it comes to choosing which of these types to use for your PowerPoint design, it will depend on a few different factors.

Think about your theme

As we constantly discuss in this blog, your PowerPoint design should serve to highlight the core message of your presentation.

Instead of settling with a font that looks great, try to match what you’re trying to say. Think of it as a vessel for your message. After all, it’s going to determine how the words on your slides will literally look. It shouldn’t feel inorganic.

Before choosing a font, go back to the theme of your presentation. Aside from reviewing what it’s about, you should also examine its underlying context. What is it for? Where will it be delivered?

A presentation for the board of directors will have a more conventional feel than a seminar for young professionals. When you’re looking at several different fonts, try to determine what kind of narrative they portray and see if that fits the theme of your presentation.

When you’re looking at several different fonts, try to determine what kind of narrative they portray and see if that fits the theme of your presentation.

Familiarize yourself with how fonts are categorized

One way to check which fonts will work well with your presentations is by taking note of what each one says.

As with most things, different fonts have different meanings. Thanks to the different cultural associations we attach to a certain aesthetic, some fonts carry meaning that allows your message to transcend even further.

According to Dan Mayer of Smashing Magazine, we can categorize fonts in five different ways. If you want to know which ones work best with another, take note of how each category is described:

Screen cap from
  • Geometric Sans: These are fonts based on “strict geometric forms.” Fonts like Helvetica and Franklin Gothic all look clean and modern. Mayer also describes them as “objective, … universal and useful.”
  • Old Style: These fonts are usually based on classic and traditional typefaces that were developed from calligraphic forms. For example, Palatino and Garamond.
  • Humanist Sans: Humanist fonts are patterned from handwriting. Unlike other fonts, they have less consistency and more unique details. As Mayer writes, these fonts can be “modern yet human, clear yet empathetic”.
  • Transitional and Modern: These fonts grew out of from the Old Style category. According to Mayer, both Transitional and Modern typefaces “emerged as type designers experimented with making their letterforms more geometric, sharp and virtuosic”. Examples include Times New Roman and Baskerville for Transitional and Bodoni and Didot for Modern.
  • Slab Serifs: These fonts are highly stylized, with smooth strokes that end with solid, rectangular blocks on the end. For Mayer, these fonts convey “a sense of authority”. Examples include Rockwell, Courier, and Archer.

Create unique combinations 

Your PowerPoint design won’t look as dynamic if you use a single font for the entire deck. Of course, you’ll want to add a bit of variety to keep the audience interested.

Combine a few different fonts to achieve a completely unique and interesting look. The important thing is that you don’t get carried away.

Ideally, it’s best to limit your font choices to about 2-3 styles. This way, your presentation deck maintains a look that’s focused, consistent and professional.

Something else you’ll have to consider is how your chosen combination works together. Your font combinations should have enough contrast between them so that they stand out.

There’s no point to combining two fonts that look similar. Adding contrast to your selections will help you emphasize certain points in your slides. This will help if you want the audience to see your key takeaways and headlines immediately.

There are plenty of fonts to choose from to improve your design, but don’t let this overwhelm you. Take note of these three lessons to make sure your slides stand out.

To see how we use fonts on our PowerPoint designs, check out our portfolio here. You can also check out resources from, Font Squirrel,, and 1001 Free Fonts for downloadable custom fonts.



What Font Should I Use?”: Five Principles for Choosing and Using Typefaces.” Smashing Magazine. December 14, 2010. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Coming Up with a Presentation Design Concept.” SlideGenius, Inc. October 12, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2015.
ContrastRebellion.” Contrast Rebellion. Accessed January 12, 2016
Why Your Presentations Need Better Slide Headlines.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 3, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2015.


Featured Image: FontShop via

A Step-by-Step Guide for Using Custom Fonts in PowerPoint Design

One of the easiest ways to improve PowerPoint designs is by playing with typography. By simply changing up fonts, you can instantly create unique slides. You don’t have to stick with using standard fonts, either. If you want to dabble in typography, plenty of custom fonts can be found online.

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Despite its many advantages, custom fonts can complicate your PowerPoint process. You will need to install the new fonts on your computer. You also have to ensure that PowerPoint doesn’t substitute your custom fonts with a standard one when it’s time to share the deck with others. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making sure the process is as smooth and easy for you.

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Downloading custom fonts

Choose 1 to 2 fonts from any of the following sources. Make sure you use the same fonts throughout your presentation. Check out the infographic from yesterday’s post for more tips on choosing and combining different fonts.

The fonts on these sites are OpenType fonts (OTF) and TrueType fonts (TTF). Download your choices following the instructions provided on the sites. They will usually come in a ZIP archive, so make sure you have software like WinRAR to extract the files you need.

Installing custom fonts

Once extracted, the fonts will need to be installed on your computer. Double-click the TrueType or OpenType font file and click Install.

Installing Authentic Hilton by Maelle.K via

Head to PowerPoint and check if you can access the new fonts. If you can, you’re ready to experiment with typography. Work as you usually would and build your PowerPoint deck. Once you’re done, you’ll need to take one extra step to ensure your fonts will look the same on other computers. There are two different techniques to save custom fonts in PowerPoint. You can choose to embed fonts or turn your text into pictures.

Technique #1: Embedding fonts

PowerPoint allows you to embed non-standard fonts as long as they are TTF or OTF files. All you have to do is head to File and choose Options. Click Save and check the box for “Embed fonts in this file.”

Keep in mind that this technique will likely bloat your file size, so it’s best if you choose “Embed only the characters used in the presentation“.

Technique #2: Save text as a picture

You can also save the text as a picture instead. Simply right-click on the text placeholder and choose Save as Picture.

You can then replace the text with the picture afterward. This will take a lot more time, but it’s a great technique if your chosen font is neither a TTF nor OTF file. It’s also the best way to ensure that your text looks the same on any device.

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Your PowerPoint deck can significantly improve by simply using unique and custom fonts. Make sure your experimentation with typography ends a success by following this guide.

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