Have you ever opened a presentation someone sent you, only to find the text formatting too messed up to read? Chances are, the person who designed the presentation used a custom font you don't have.
Custom fonts are a great way to make your slides more expressive, but they can cause serious problems when you try sending your presentation to someone else.
Presentation applications (i.e. Keynote and PowerPoint) don't embed fonts into presentation documents. This means if you're making a presentation you plan to send to several people, it's best to use only universal fonts.
In the example below, I designed a simple slide using the custom font Trixie. The version on the left shows what the slide looks like on my computer, a computer with the font installed. The version on the right is the exact same slide, but on my friend's computer, which does not have the font installed. Notice the difference?
If you use a PC, you don't have much to worry about — almost all of the fonts that came installed on your computer are universal. If you use a Mac, you have to be a bit more careful. You have several great fonts on your machine that your PC brethren might lack.
Using type effectively is an art and a great way to make your slides more expressive. For presentations you'll only deliver from your computer, feel free to go nuts using any fonts you want. But for presentations you plan to send to other people, remember to be careful with your font choices.
Note: PowerPoint 2007 for the PC does, in fact, allow you to embed custom fonts into your presentation. First, click "Save" and then click the "Tools" button. Select "Save Options", and then click the "Embed fonts in the file" check box.
21 great fonts
If you're interested in learning more about custom fonts, the link below highlights a collection of 21 of the most used fonts by professional designers.
It's definitely worth checking out if you want to experiment with using a font other than Arial or Calibri in your next presentation.