Office For Mac

Kurt’s Power Tip #2: The Magic Behind Windows Office Compatible Fonts

Office for Mac 2011 made significant improvements in compatibility and visual fidelity with Office for Windows. But there is still one area of visual fidelity for which you, the end user, have great deal of control when you create new documents: fonts.  If you create a text document in Word, a spreadsheet in Excel, or a presentation in PowerPoint using a font that is only available on your Mac, there are going to be some issues when opening the document on a Windows PC.  And there is no “magic” technology that will make a font that is only on the Mac render correctly on a PC.  So, what’s a Mac user to do? 

When Office for Mac is installed on your Mac, we add a new font collection to assist you with this visual fidelity issue. A font collection is an important tool for a Mac user to organize and use fonts, and a tool that makes choosing a particular font much easier. Some font collections are automatically created when the Mac OS is installed, others can be created by you, and still others are created by applications on your Mac such as Office for Mac. You can also create new font collections using the Font Book utility included with the Mac OS.

For example, here are the font collections on my MacBook Pro, as shown in the Font Book utility:

As you can see, there are 11 collections listed in the leftmost pane.  These include Fixed Width, Modern, PDF, Traditional and Web, which should already be on your Mac since they are created when the Mac OS is installed.  I often create documents with text passages in Japanese and Chinese, therefore I added those two collections.  Additionally, I use non-alphabetic characters in my writing, so I added the Dingbat collection. And as you may know from last week’s tip, I frequently use the advanced typographic features in OpenType and True Type fonts, hence the Script collection.

Using these collections makes it very easy to quickly get to just the right font, without having to scroll thru a long font menu – and I’ll be honest, I have a really long font menu. Here, for example, I am choosing the Zapfino font using the Script font collection – much easier and much quicker than scrolling thru my entire font menu:

So, how does all of this help you with font visual fidelity concerns when you are creating documents?

When Office for Mac is installed, additional fonts and a new font collection are added to your Mac, and you can view this new font collection, Windows Office Compatible, in each of the previous figures. As you’ll see below, this new collection includes more than 75 fonts – giving you a wide range of choices to customize your document.


When you used one of the Windows Office Compatible fonts, you can be sure that these same fonts will be present on any Windows PC with Office for Windows installed.  You can also feel good about  knowing that your document will render with the best visual fidelity available for any Office document.

I highly recommend using the fonts in this collection if you think that the document, spreadsheet, or presentation you’re working on will ever be sent to someone using Office for Windows. The other great news is that the same fonts are available for those of you using Office Web Applications to share or collaborate with others.

I hope this tip helps you feel confident that everyone will view your work in the same way you intended. After all, you spent a lot of time creating it, and want it to look just as good no matter which Office suite the person on the other end is using.

-Kurt Schmucker, Office for Mac Evangelist

February 24th, 2011
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  1. James Mullen says:

    I had no idea the font overlap between Mac and Windows was so large. Thanks for doing this, and for making it so easy to use. I only wish I had known about this months ago!

  2. Free Business Directory says:

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  3. Kathy Ellis says:

    Now I understand why font collections are useful. These examples are better than the ones on Apple’s site. I’ll be adding my own collections on my iMac. Thanks.

  4. stock market tips and picks says:

    very informative blog…

  5. Catherine says:

    I just visited the site for the first time to try to resolve a problem and I just wanted to say – great looking site.

  6. kruinc says:

    Any way we can apply this when composing in Outlook 2011?

  7. Ellen Dietz says:

    How do you change a series of negative numbers to positive numbers without going through each one?

  8. Esteve says:

    MSOffice is clearly the best offices suite for the mac at least for me, but it isn’t compared to WIN brother.

    For instance when talking about fonts, when changing font os MSO Windows changes are applying when hovering the font name, what is terribly useful, it’s a pity MSO Mac doesn’t do that (yet).

  9. Van Nilla says:

    Some well-documented references on dealing with duplicate/missing fonts:

  10. John Gay says:

    I am using Microsoft Excel 2011 and I have a strange problem in a spreadsheet. Whenever I type in an e-mail address or other hyperlink the font size changes and is much smaller. This only happens when I type an e-mail address or hyperlink.

    Any ideas on how I can fix this strange problem?



  11. John Gay says:

    I am using Mac Excel 2011. I have a strange problem. Everytime I enter a e-mail address or hyperlink in a cell the text changes to a much smaller font than what I am using throughout the document. I do not know why this is. Can some suggest how I might be able to fix this?

    Thank you