Lesson 1: Fonts

Return to Lesson Menu

As with all the lessons in this course, you must go through every step in the procedures using Word to learn the skill so it is available to you from memory when you need to use it.

There are two types of fonts: serif fonts and sans serif fonts.

Serif fonts Serifs are the decorations that stick out from a letter, as circled in the example below. The thinner lines are also characteristic of serif fonts.

In many cases, a serif font will look best in formal or official documents. One of those most immediately identifiable and iconic examples of a serif font is the New York Times masthead:

Sans Serif Fonts A sans serif has no serifs. Here you see the Arial font, one of Windows’ default fonts.

Writers use sans serif fonts in advertising and logos because they often look new and modern.

Most business writing is in Arial or Times New Roman or other font similar to these fonts.

Point size Font size is expressed in points. Here are some examples of point sizes:

Most business writing is in 11-point or 12-point font. Headings and titles may be in larger font sizes.

Font Styles and Effects

You can apply various font styles and effects from the Font tab on the Home tab on the ribbon.


You can access further font effects from the full Font dialog window, accessible by clicking the arrow in the bottom right corner of the Font tab. You will see this Font dialog window:

You have a whole range of effects, including colors and different underline styles you can apply.

Use typographic emphasis (bold, italic, underline) to make text stand out. For example, to bold text, drag your mouse cursor across the text to select the text. Click on the B button on the Microsoft Word Ribbon.

The Ribbon also has the buttons to apply italic, underline, strikethrough, and other formatting effects for text. Follow the same steps to apply those effects.

Change the Font

To change the font and font size, select the text. Click the drop-down arrow on the Font section of the Ribbon. Then select the font you want to apply. In this case, the font is Palatino Linotype.

Change the Font Size

To change the font size, highlight the text and click the drop-down arrow on the font size indicator on the Ribbon. Click on the font size of your choice.

Another way to set the font size is to highlight the text and type the font size into the font size indicator on the Ribbon. This is especially useful when the font size you want isn’t available in the font size selector.

You can also use two buttons on the Ribbon to change the font size quickly. In the image below, the increase-size button is on the left and decrease-size bottom is on the right.

Change Font Color

To change the font color, highlight the text and click the down arrow beside the font-color selector that has an “A” and red underline (see image below). Click on the color you want to use.

Click on “More Colors…” to see a wider range of colors.

Change Capitalization

Small letters (a, b, and so on) are referred to as “lowercase.” Capital letters are referred to as “uppercase.” Microsoft Word allows you to easily and quickly change text that is lowercase into uppercase. For example, if you want to change a title you typed in both lowercase and uppercase letters into all uppercase, instead of retyping it highlight the title and click the button with “Aa” on the Ribbon (see image below).

Or, highlight the text, click on Format, and click on Change case…

Then click on the radio button for the case you want to apply. Click OK.

Use the Format Painter

You can also copy and paste formatting from one block of text and images to another. To copy the formatting from a block of text or images, place your mouse cursor’s insertion point into the content that has the formatting you want to copy, or select an entire paragraph when you want to copy the entire paragraph’s formatting. Make sure you have the paragraph mark at the end of the paragraph in your selection.

In the Clipboard section of the Home tab, click Format Painter beside the yellow paintbrush icon.

The mouse cursor’s insert point changes to a paintbrush. Select the text you want to copy the formatting to. When you release the mouse button, the formatting copies to the selected text.

To copy formatting to multiple blocks of text or images, double-click the format-painter paintbrush. The copy-formatting option will remain active so you can apply that formatting to other areas of your document. To stop copying formatting, click the format-painter paintbrush once more or press the Esc key.

NOTE: For copying formatting from graphics, the format painter tool works best with drawing objects, such as autoshapes. However, you can also copy formatting from an inserted picture, such as the picture’s border.

Repeat an action

To repeat something simple, such as a paste operation, after you perform the operation the first time, position the mouse cursor’s insertion point where you want to repeat the process and press Ctrl+Y or F4. If F4 doesn’t seem to work, you may need to press the F-Lock key or Fn Key, then F4.

If you prefer to use the mouse, click the curved arrow “repeat” button on the Quick Access Toolbar (see image below).

Download the Word file at this link and perform the functions indicated in the document: Download

When you have completed the tasks, send the Word file to assignments@businesswriting.com. Write a complete email with a salutation, reason for the email, reference to the attachment, and your name and contact information. Put “Lesson 1 – Fonts exercise” in the subject line.

Return to Lesson Menu