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Tech Tips

Fix Your Microsoft Word Font Frustrations

By Danielle DavisRoe

Ever had the wrong font randomly show up in your document? Maybe you’ve heard things about using the heading styles, but who needs large blue text in their brief? You’re not alone — issues with Microsoft Word fonts plague lawyers every day. The good news is it’s easy to fix Microsoft Word fonts once you know how. It just isn’t obvious.

fix Microsoft word fonts

Step 1: Fix Your Default Font

Every document has a default font. Changing the font by using the dropdown on the Home ribbon doesn’t change the default font. Your entire document can be Times New Roman 12 pt, but the default font might be set to something completely different.

When the wrong font randomly appears in your document, 9 times out of 10, that’s the default font rearing its ugly head. Word assumes you want to use the default font most of the time, so it keeps randomly popping up on you.

Changing the Default Word Font in an Existing Document

To fix the default font in the document you’re currently drafting:

  • Right-click on some unformatted text and select Font from the right-click menu. Ensure that the settings are correct in the Font dialog box.
  • Then click on the Set as Default button. Select “this document only” and click OK.

That will fix the issue on a document-by-document basis. To make a wide-sweeping change, you need to change the default where you start drafting documents.

Changing the Default Word Font in New, Blank Documents

If you ever start drafting documents by selecting New Document under the File menu, you’ll need to change the default font in the template those new documents are based on.

Start by opening a new blank document. Then, follow the steps above, except select “all documents based on the Normal.dotm template” instead of “this document only.”

The Normal.dotm template is the basis for all new, blank documents.

Changing the Default for Documents Drafted from Templates

If you start drafting from templates, you’ll need to change the default font. Edit the template and change the default font using the steps above.

Working from Documents Recently Drafted

If you start drafting by finding a similar document and copying it, you have two options: change the default font in the documents you frequently copy or change the default font every time you copy a document. Changing the default font in an existing document may alter the formatting. If you want to preserve how the document appeared, don’t change the default font in it.

Step 2: Fix Word Heading Styles

By default, the heading styles in Word are blue, sometimes the wrong font, and typically the wrong size. While they don’t initially look the way that you need them to look, using the default headings comes with a host of benefits, including faster document formatting, more consistent document formatting, populating the Navigation Pane and making it easy to create bookmarks in any PDFs created from the document.

To change how they look, format a heading in your document the way you want. Then, right-click on the heading style on the Home ribbon and select “update <Style Name> to match selection.”

Click here to learn more about using styles in Word.

Learn More Word Tricks

Learn more tricks like this in Affinity Consulting Group’s “Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals.”

About Affinity Consulting Group

Affinity Consulting Group inspires, enables, and empowers legal teams of all sizes to work smarter, from anywhere. The company’s holistic approach incorporates people, process, and technology. Affinity’s passionate, well-connected industry experts work hand in hand with you to help you better understand and optimize your business—from software to growth strategy, and everything in between.

Want to work faster? For in-depth information and instructions on getting the most from Word, order Affinity Consulting Group’s hands-on digital manual “Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals. Individual and site licenses are available for download in the Attorney at Work bookstore.

More Office 365 Training Manuals for Lawyers

Check out Affinity Consulting Group’s “Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals,” “Excel for Legal Professionals,” “Outlook for Legal Professionals” and “PowerPoint for Legal Professionals.” Each manual zeros in on your practice’s needs with in-depth instructions from Affinity experts on getting the most out of your tech.

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Categories: Document Automation, Lawyer Tech Tips, Legal Technology, Office 365, Tech Tools
Originally published February 2, 2024
Last updated February 7, 2024
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Danielle Danielle DavisRoe

Danielle DavisRoe is a senior consultant with Affinity Consulting Group (@affinitylegal). Whether it’s teaching clients a new skill through training, speaking at CLE events, or management consulting, Danielle is 100% focused on making the lives of her clients better. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

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