Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Tip 24: Avoiding Font Substitution for Small Point Sizes
Avoiding Font Substitution for Small Point
When you specify a font size smaller than eight points, you may notice that the numbers in a column
no longer line up correctly. That’s because Excel uses a different (non-proportional) font for small
text. Normally, each numeric character takes the same amount of horizontal space — that’s why
numbers line up so nicely. But with a proportional font, numeric characters vary in width. The “1”
character is more narrow than the “0” character, for example.
Figure 24-1 shows a worksheet with columns of numbers in varying font sizes. Notice that everything
is fine until the point size is smaller than 8 points. In column E (7 points), the “1” character take up less
space. In column F (6 points), the “5” and “7” characters also take up less space.
Figure 24-1: Various font sizes, with font substitution enabled.
Font substitution also occurs when you zoom the worksheet, using the Zoom slider in the status bar.
Sometimes zooming out causes values to appear as a series of hash marks (#####). The point at
which the font is changed seems to vary, depending on the size of the original font. For the default
11-point font, zooming below 75% causes Excel to switch to a different font.
You can instruct Excel to stop this font substitution for small font sizes, but doing so requires editing
the Windows registry.
Editing the registry can be dangerous if you don’t understand what you’re doing; always
create a backup before you make any changes. If you’re not comfortable editing the
registry, find someone who is — or just don’t implement this tip.