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: Changing the Default Font.

Changing the Default Font

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 14, 2014)

When you create a new document, Word bases what that document looks like on certain defaults that it establishes. Where those defaults come from depends on the version of Word you are using. In Word 97 and Word 2000 all defaults were stored in the default template, which is Normal.dot. (More on default templates in a moment.)

In later versions of Word, more and more defaults have been moved away from templates and into the Windows Registry. The default font used by the program is no exception. In these later Word versions, there is no default template until you make enough changes to Word's defaults to warrant the creation of the template.

If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003 you can change the default font used for new documents in this manner, assuming that Word has not yet created the default template (Normal.dot):

  1. Type a few letters into an empty document.
  2. Select the letters you just typed.
  3. Press Ctrl+D to display the Font dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Font dialog box.

  5. Use the controls in the dialog box to specify what you want as the default font.
  6. Click the Default button. (This is what updates the information in the Windows Registry.)
  7. If you are asked whether you want to change the default font, click Yes.
  8. Click OK.

If Word has already created the default template (again, Normal.dot) then the best way to change the default font is to make your change to the template itself. Follow these steps:

  1. Locate the file Normal.dot on your hard drive, and then open the file in Word. (The best way to find these is to use the search capabilities in Word.)
  2. Display the Styles or Styles and Formatting task pane, depending on your version of Word. (Choose Styles and Formatting from the Format menu.)
  3. Scroll through the list of styles until you can see the Normal style.
  4. Click the down arrow at the right of the style name and choose Modify. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Modify Style dialog box.

  6. Click the Format button and choose Font. Word displays the Font dialog box.
  7. Use the controls in the dialog box to specify the font you want.
  8. Click on OK twice.
  9. Close the Styles and Formatting task pane.

If you are using an older version of Word (Word 2000 or Word 97) then you need to make your default change to the template itself by using these steps:

  1. Locate the file Normal.dot on your hard drive, and then open the file in Word. (The best way to find these is to use the search capabilities in Word.)
  2. Choose the Style option from the Format menu. Word displays the Style dialog box.
  3. Make sure that the Normal style is selected in the list of available Styles.
  4. Click on Modify. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box.
  5. Choose the Font option that is visible when you click on the Format button. Word displays the Font dialog box.
  6. Select the font settings you want to use by default.
  7. Click on OK twice.
  8. Click on Close.

You have now changed the default template. You should save the file and then close it. The changes will take effect with the next document you create.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1559) 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: Changing the Default Font.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Automatically Moving from Cell to Cell when Entering Data

As you enter data in a worksheet, you may want to have Excel automatically move from cell to cell based on the length of ...

Discover More

Exiting a For ... Next Loop Early

If you use For ... Next loops in your macros, make sure you give a way to jump out of the loop early. That way you can ...

Discover More

Creating a Directory

Need to create a directory from within a macro? You can do it using a single command line, as detailed in this tip.

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Hyperlink Formatting

Word, as you type, normally formats hyperlinks automatically. If you don't like the way that hyperlinks look in a ...

Discover More

Understanding Point Sizes

Points are the common unit of measure for typefaces in the printing industry. They are also used quite often in Word. ...

Discover More

Automatically Formatting Text within Quotes

Some people use quote marks around text to make it stand out. At some point you may want to treat the quoted text ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.