14 August 2008

There are more than 2 fonts on your computer

Sometimes even the several hundred fonts that you'll have on your computer don't provide quite the one you want. There are lots that are almost the same too which can be quite annoying but I have never managed to pluck up the courage to delete them or, at least, stop them taking up space in the font list in programmes.

In fact, that reminds me of another question. In Excel, if you want to change the font for a header or footer you have this tiny box to scroll through. Typing an initial letter, which usually focuses in well in other places, doesn't seem to do much so you're left struggling from Arial to Verdana. I'm afraid that I dislike Arial. Helvetica's fine and I can see the point of that but Arial just never, ever looks right to me. A particular hate of mine is getting mail in Arial bold, size 12+. I could even cope with Times New Roman bold and italic for a while longer before running for cover as long as the sender didn't add underscore which, unfortunately, many do for good measure.

On the underscore front, there are precious few occasions now when that U button is needed. There isn't one in my menu as I type this blog. On the web it tends to mean this is a link (especially in that colour) so if a designer does go for the U button he's risking a lot of users' frustration in meaningless clicking. In documents, headers look good in a bold font of an appropriate size. I'd go further and say that you really shouldn't underline very big headings, and certainly not title page stuff. In Word or Word-like applications it is simple enough these days to add a whole line background too which is often far more appealing than the line. And don't even mention individual word underlining, please. The very thought makes me worry that I may even recall the shortcut for it if I linger any longer!

If you must have a line then use the whole line line thing which can look quite reasonable. It's in the Borders menu somewhere.

This post started with fonts and that's where I need to return if my sanity is to remain. Handwriting fonts can be great but there are few in that long list. Whilst Windows provides you with umpteen whacky fonts and a myriad Times clones it doesn't do much on the writing side, other than some very old fashioned scripty things that you'd only use to invite Grandma to a wedding. What you may well look for in vain are some fun but not over-the-top or excessively childish fonts. There are lots around and many are free.

Take a look at http://www.getfreefonts.info/ where you have pages and pages of the things.

To install a font in Windows, download it, unzip it if necessary then move the font file to the Windows | Fonts folder where it should install itself happily and be available next time you open applications.

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