Microsoft Office new default font

15 years after the last, Microsoft as announced the new default font for Microsoft Office. The original default font was Arial, dubbed with Times New Roman, both poor imitations of Helvetica and Times respectively, because they were cheaper to license. In 2007, both Times New Roman and Arial were replaced by Calibri, with the goal to make it more optimized for displays.

TechCrunch back in April Microsoft’s new default font options, rated presented the options, that Microsoft wanted people to vote on. Whether the vote was just to pretend or because they had no idea is left as an exercise to the reader.

Pixel Envy The New Default Microsoft Office Type Family Is Called Aptos has a commentary on the Medium post by Microsoft designer1.

The new font is called Aptos. It wasn’t on the list from the TechCrunch article because it was actually just renamed from Bierstadt whose name was probably hard to pronounce for many speakers, despite being the name of a place in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Aptos is a place in California.

Weirdly the post from Microsoft doesn’t even show proper samples of the font.2 Why don’t they post text rendered with both Calibri and Aptos to show the difference, at a regular text size? The TechCrunch article still does a better job at that.

This is change isn’t without effect. The default font is often used because its there and people don’t bother. This appearence will be reflected on our daily lives with any sort of document printed or sent electronically, and you don’t need to use Microsoft Office for that. I think we still haven’t forgotten how Comic Sans spread like a wild fire, generating all that ridicule for a font that wasn’t mean do be used like it was, diverting people from the message it was carrying.

Now we’ll need a freely licensed font with similar metrics. To use in Chrome OS, Google has released Carlito as a metrics compatible font to substitute Calibri, to not break the layout of documents using it.

  1. I don’t link to Medium. ↩︎

  2. I know the irony as I don’t show the font either, but I don’t have them. ↩︎