Home > Tutorials > Designing Documents > Fonts


Documents can be set in serif or sans-serif typefaces. North Americans are more accustomed to serif typefaces. Europeans frequently use sans-serif typefaces.

If you have complementing serif and sans-serif typefaces, setting headings in sans-serif and the body in serif adds an interesting character to your document. For example, in Adobe FrameMaker we have used sans-serif AvantGarde for headings and serif Palatino for body. Unfortunately, we have not yet found a similar complementing pair for Microsoft Word. We use Arial for headings and body text.

Text is usually set in 10, 11 or 12 points. Text should always be set in the same type size, regardless of whether it is in a paragraph, list, block text or tables. Exceptions are footnotes, which are usually set two points smaller, and headings, which are usually in a larger size.

In these sizes, leading is usually two points. Most document creation systems automatically insert an appropriate amount of leading. For example, in MS Word, selecting single-line spacing for 11-point Arial adds 2-point leading between lines.