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Working with Fonts

Fonts control how individual characters appear in your worksheet. These fonts are given names that are either dictated by tradition or loosely represent the appearance of the font. For instance, Courier is a common font, as is Helvetica and Times Roman. There are literally thousands of fonts on the market today, each being sold by different vendors. (You can even find some fonts on the Internet for free.)

In many respects, fonts are controlled outside of Excel. For instance, if you want to add or delete a font, you must do it within Windows, not within Excel. The application of these fonts within your worksheet, however, is completely under the control of Excel. Excel supports any font that you can load into Windows.

To change a font within Excel, you must first select the cells you want to format. If you are formatting entire cells, it's not important that the cells have anything in them; you can format the cells before they actually contain information. When you later add the information, it will assume the format you last set, including the font. Excel also allows you to change the font used by individual characters within a cell. All you need to do is select the text whose font you wish to change.

Once the cell (or information within a cell) is selected, you can change the font by clicking on the arrow next to the Font tool on the Formatting toolbar. When you do, you will see a pull-down list of fonts from which you can choose one. You can scroll through the available fonts the same way you scroll through many other options within Excel. When you select a font, the change is made immediately.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1941) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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