Fonts Don't Work in Word on New System

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 24, 2014)

Judite Orensztajn upgraded to a new Windows XP system with Word 2002. The old system used Windows 95 and Word 97. On the old system Judite's Hebrew fonts worked correctly, but they don't work in Word on the new system.

In all likelihood, this problem is related to differences in how fonts are handled in Windows 95 when compared to Windows XP. (It is the operating system that is ultimately responsible for fonts.) Since Windows 95 was released, there have been many advances in font technology and encoding, with Unicode being the biggest one. If the old font was not developed in a way that properly recognizes Unicode, then it may not work properly on the newer operating system.

One thing you can do is to open the Character Map program in Windows. (Click Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Character Map.) (See Figure 1.) You can use the program to determine how a font is mapped to character codes by the operating system.

Figure 1. The Character Map program.

Using the Font drop-down list, choose the Hebrew font you want to look at. You may notice that the Latin characters are mapped to the regular places on the keyboard, while the Hebrew characters are mapped to character codes not associated with particular keyboard keys. If this is the case, you have three options:

  • Type the character codes to which the Hebrew characters are mapped, one at a time, using the Alt+<number pad> approach.
  • Select the characters in Character Map, in the order you want them used. Each time you click a character and click Select, it appears in the box at the bottom of the dialog box. When you click Copy, the string of characters ends up in the Clipboard and you can paste them into the Word document using Ctrl+V.
  • Contact the font's publisher to see if they have a version that will work as expected with Windows XP.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (98) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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