Fonts Unavailable in Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)


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.

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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What is 4 + 1?

2018-04-17 08:29:30


I am currently having this problem, but it is a bit more complicated. I recently installed an update to Office, and now none of the programs in the Office suite will recognize Times New Roman, or several other fonts, actually. It defaults to Arial. It sounds like the same problem that this person is describing on the Microsoft community page:

Here's the thing: I can use those fonts in other applications such as Adobe Pro, Mac Mail, Stickies, etc., but just not in MS Office. Font Book recognizes the font, and it's there in the Fonts folder. I can print TNR from these other applications, so it's not a driver issue.

Any comments would be helpful.

2018-01-22 17:10:51


Holy cow, Barbara !!! I never knew you could do that. You are a lifesaver.

2018-01-21 07:04:14

Barbara Taylor

You can make the text any size you want. All you have to do is highlight the text in your document, then highlight the size in the Font menu at the top, change it to the size you require and press return.

2018-01-20 14:00:56


I have Times New Roman but my employer now wants me to use pt 13 and I only have 12 and 14. Why do they have it and I don't and how do I get it, please?

2018-01-04 15:51:25

Barbara Taylor

What a palaver!! I now have Office 2016. All works perfectly well with new fonts if you want, thankfully!

2018-01-03 03:23:27


Thank you! Problem not exactly solved ... but I did think of a workaround, having read the information on your site. I'm using a font that I installed in .otf and then reinstalled in .ttf, which did not show up in Word. Thanks to your info, I got the idea of going to Excel, typing placeholder text into a cell, making sure it displayed properly (it did), copying it, and pasting it into Word! Then I was able to add on to the text, change the font size, and delete the placeholder bit, so that my document looked like I had envisioned! Thank you so much!

2017-06-20 06:16:36


All of above is useless. I've got the font family installed, seen in every single application apart from Office rubbish. There I can only select 'regular' style from this font and nothing else. Instead of recognizing the fonts instantly we're back to 1980s and square one - did you try to turn it off and on again? Get a life you useless dev people...

2016-06-14 05:08:58


Thanks a million, problem solved.

2016-04-21 17:42:07

Barbara Taylor

Still going on then. I hope that by the time I need a new version Microsoft have taken notice of the negative feedback!

2016-04-19 05:21:41

Frank Shore

I installed a True Type font on my computer from the Internet. It shows up on the list of fonts in MS Word 2013, but when I select it, Word 2013 selects arial. No matter what I do, I can seem to get it to work. I vaguely recall it working in Word 2010.

2016-04-01 09:41:06


solved this by running word in safe mode (run that: winword /safe ), create new doc, write and see if your font appear. It did for me, close the word-safe-mode, reopen your doc just by clicking on it.

2015-03-19 06:23:08

P.S. Mathi

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

2015-02-03 20:59:41


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.

2015-02-03 01:19:19


Great, It worked , i have removed the Generic text printer from printers and i got all the fonts back. Thank you

2015-01-09 06:12:49

Paul J Chenevier

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

2014-11-13 12:17:58


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.

2014-10-02 14:10:03

Barbara Taylor

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!!

2014-10-01 06:00:11


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.

2014-01-26 12:38:37

Barbara Taylor

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.

2014-01-23 12:49:38

Daniel Muller

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.

2014-01-11 14:33:21


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.

2013-08-02 19:11:33


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

2013-04-25 05:14:43


This doesnt work for windows 7.
there is no TTF tab

2013-04-06 04:40:26

masoud parvar

thank you for your useful help.

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