Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Accurate Font Sizes.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 7, 2015)
You already know that Word allows you to easily change the size of your fonts. You can use either the formatting toolbar or the Font dialog box (select Font from the Format menu) to set the size of the type you've selected in your document. You may not know, however, that Word 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 your selected text is changed. This is great when you want your text to be really large for special signs. For instance, you can easily set your font size to 120 or 200 points to make huge letters for a sign.
It is also easy to overlook the fact that Word 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), Word displays an error message. You can only set full point sizes or half point sizes.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1049) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Accurate Font Sizes.
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Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.