Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Accurate Font Sizes.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 10, 2018)
You already know that Excel allows you to easily change the size of your fonts using various tools and menus. You may not know, however, that Excel can use virtually any point size you want, not just those listed in the drop-down size lists.
Font sizes are specified in points, which are a typographer's measurement roughly equivalent to 1/72 of an inch. You can either select a size from the drop-down list or you can enter your own size. Select the size shown in the list and then type the size you actually want. When you press Enter, the size of the text in the cell (or your selected text within a cell) is changed.
It is also easy to overlook the fact that Excel can display and print fonts in increments of half a point. Depending on the typeface being used, this can make a big difference. For example, there is a very marked difference between 10 and 11 point Verdana, and 10.5 may be just what you need.
You obtain the half-sizes by typing them directly into the size box. If you try to type in any other fractional size (like 10.25 or 10.4), Excel rounds your entry to the nearest half-point. (Remember—you can only set full-point sizes or half-point sizes.)
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2125) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Accurate Font Sizes.
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Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.