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Fonts Unavailable in Word

Stephen commented that there were fonts that he could see and print in the Fonts window (Control Panel | Fonts), but that were not listed as available in Word. He wondered if there was a way to fix this so that the fonts would be available in Word.

There are any number of reasons that this may be the case. Believe it or not, the most likely scenario has to do with the printer driver being used by Word. While you are working on documents, Word routinely checks the printer driver to see what it can do, and then modifies what it displays based on what it discovers. The technical term for this behavior by Word is the "device context." Word is totally oriented to the "device context," which it gets from interrogating the printer driver at different junctures in the document-creation and printing process. Excel, on the other hand, is display oriented and really doesn't care much about what can or will be printed. This difference in behavior is why Word may not show all installed fonts, but Excel does.

Check to make sure that Word isn't using a generic text printer or your fax printer (the driver that actually sends a fax). Neither of these printer drivers support many of the fonts used by Windows, so those fonts—even though they are installed on your system—won't appear in Word's font list if these printer drivers are selected. There is no solution to this, other than choosing a different printer driver for your output.

Closely related to this scenario is that you, perhaps, do not have any printer driver installed on the system. If this is a new computer, this is quite possible. Check within Windows to make sure that you actually have a printer installed.

If you are certain that you are using a printer driver supports the type of fonts installed on your system, and those fonts are still not visible in Word, then you may have a corrupted printer driver or a very old printer driver for your particular printer. Visit the printer manufacturer's Web site and download the latest printer driver. You should then delete the printer driver and reinstall the printer using the new driver.

For more information on printers and fonts, you can check these resources:


The discussion so far has revolved around the availability of TrueType fonts to various printer drivers in Word. In reality, you may notice some fonts in the Fonts window that aren't available in Word, even if you are using a printer driver that supports TrueType fonts. If your non-TrueType fonts are not displaying, try these steps. (These steps are for Windows XP. You'll need to adjust them to work with whatever version of the operating system you are using.)

  1. Display the Control Panel.
  2. Double-click on the Fonts applet. Windows displays the Fonts window. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Fonts window.

  4. From the menus in the dialog box, choose Folder Options from the Tools menu.
  5. Make sure the TrueType Fonts tab is displayed.
  6. Make sure the Show Only TrueType Fonts check box is cleared.
  7. Click on OK.

If that doesn't solve the problem, use the Control Panel to open the Fonts window, and take a look at the fonts available there. If the fonts are "Modern," "Roman," and "Script," these are pen-plotter oriented fonts and will not print to laser printers (and probably inkjet printers as well), and therefore Word does not display them if a printer that can't print them is selected as the current printer. If the names of the fonts have a series of numbers, e.g., "Courier 10, 12, 15" and a red "A" icon, these are non-printable screen fonts intended for use in Windows' system messages, dialog boxes, and menus. You can find more information about this in Microsoft's Knowledge Base:


If the fonts have a typical TrueType or OpenType icon and do not show in Word with the proper printer driver installed, it means that the fonts are probably buggy or corrupted and that you need to reinstall the fonts. (It is very easy to create TrueType fonts by converting them from PostScript or other font technologies, but it's even easier to do so badly.)

Finally, some versions of Windows (not Word) have a limit on the number of fonts they will handle. This limit is quite high, so the limit isn't often reached. If you have quite a few fonts, it could explain why not all of the fonts are visible in Word—it never learns about them from the operating system because its limit is exceeded. The answer is to either upgrade your operating system or install a font manager.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3811) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Related Tips:

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Comments for this tip:

P.S. Mathi    19 Mar 2015, 06:23
I am printing a html document in Microsoft Word application using 'Document Image Writer' printer to TIFF output file.

Sometimes I get a TIFF output file with different font.

I tried to print the same html document many times.Sometimes the output TIFF has different font and sometimes the text size is very very small. Could you please give us some hint on what could be the problem ?

thank you

MrNiceGuy    03 Feb 2015, 20:59
Wow, what spectacularly useless info here. I concur with snovy here. I download font. I install font. My expectation is that it will be a choice in all programs on my system. Works as expected for a host of simple applications but not MS office. Of course it's intentional - I struggle to believe for a moment that the MS dev team could be this incomprehensibly incompetent.
naren    03 Feb 2015, 01:19
Great, It worked , i have removed the Generic text printer from printers and i got all the fonts back. Thank you
Paul J Chenevier    09 Jan 2015, 06:12
Hi. Your site is quite interesting, bravo.
I've got a problem with some TTF fonts which prove not visible neither under Word 2013, nor in the font listing thru the Control Panel. Nevertheless the font (namely instantlogo.ttf, an old classic)is installed, and totally useful in Open Office Writer and Adobe Fireworks.
I've checked my printer setup (HP DJ 1050), it's all set. Can't understand the issue. Would you have a clue?
Thks n rgds
Faith    13 Nov 2014, 12:17
Interesting. I just bought a custom handwriting font (true type) and installed it on my Windows machine. Works beautifully in Excel and PowerPoint (where I don't need it). It shows up as an option in OneNotes and Word, but does not display or print in either of these applications. Of course, those are the two application for which I wanted the font!! Brilliant.
Barbara Taylor    02 Oct 2014, 14:10
I gave up in the end and dropped back to Office 2010, where TT1 fonts do work properly. I just hope Microsoft take this on board before I need another new PC and new version of Office!!
Snovy    01 Oct 2014, 06:00
You can make fricking fonts available that users own from their own computer? WTF, it's 2014! Are you telling me that Microsoft's programming is still so rudimentary that it limits loading FONTS? We can surf the web from 35,000 feet, we can see images from a rover on Mars, and you can't make fonts available in MS Word that we load in Font Book from our own Mac? Seriously, either that's intentional or you should fire your entire programming team. This is why I open up TextEdit or Pages for most of my documents now, when I'd rather be using Word.
Rant over.
Barbara Taylor    26 Jan 2014, 12:38
I had high hopes that installing the latest drivers for my printer on my new PC (Windows 8.1 with Office 2013)would solve this problem, but it hasn't.
A printer symbol is by every new font that I have installed rather than the TT or O symbol. I did reboot the system after I had installed the new drivers and then I reinstalled the fonts (from a Corel CD. Corel 12 is on my PC). The Word document prints with the selected fonts but they don't show properly in any of my software, including Corel Draw. They show properly in a PDF document.
Please can you help? I have wasted all day on this! I really need them to show properly on screen as I draw maps.
Daniel Muller    23 Jan 2014, 12:49
The problem with Word 2013 is that it does not support Type 1 fonts. They may work in other applications and may print from Word, but they will not appear on the screen in a Word document. This may be Donna's problem.
Donna    11 Jan 2014, 14:33
None of this works for me. I have word 2007 on mac and all my fonts show up. I am running word 2013 through windows, through parallels on the same mac, and my fonts do not show up. Not sure what the problem is.
Dustin    02 Aug 2013, 19:11
Thanks for taking time to share this information. The comment you made about Word communicating with the printer to see what type of fonts it has available shed light on the problem that I had. I'm using Word 2007 and had a problem running a macro that used Courier PS. Courier PS would not show up in the Font list for several users; Problem was, they didn't have the printer with that font selected as their default. Thanks for sending me down the right path. Cheers
Rob    25 Apr 2013, 05:14
This doesnt work for windows 7.
there is no TTF tab
masoud parvar    06 Apr 2013, 04:40
thank you for your useful help.

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