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Change the Default Font Size in Word

Are you frustrated by always having to change the font size before you create a document it Word?  Here’s how you can end that frustration and set your favorite default font size for once and for all!

Microsoft changed the default font font to 11 point Calibri in Word 2007 after years of 12 point Times New Roman being the default.  Although it can be easily overlooked, there are ways in Word to change the default settings to anything you want.  Whether you want to change your default to 12 point Calibri or to 48 point Comic Sans…here’s how to change your default font settings in Word 2007 and 2010.

Changing Default Fonts in Word

To change the default font settings, click the small box with an arrow in the right left corner of the Font section of the Home tab in the Ribbon.

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In the Font dialog box, choose the default font settings you want.  Notice in the Font box it says “+Body”; this means that the font will be chosen by the document style you choose, and you are only selecting the default font style and size.  So, if your style uses Calibri, then your font will be Calibri at the size and style you chose.  If you’d prefer to choose a specific font to be the default, just select one from the drop-down box and this selection will override the font selection in your document style.

Here we left all the default settings, except we selected 12 point font in the Latin text box (this is your standard body text; users of Asian languages such as Chinese may see a box for Asian languages).  When you’ve made your selections, click the “Set as Default” button in the bottom left corner of the dialog.

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You will be asked to confirm that you want these settings to be made default.  In Word 2010, you will be given the option to set these settings for this document only or for all documents.  Click the bullet beside “All documents based on the Normal.dotm template?”, and then click Ok.

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In Word 2007, simply click Ok to save these settings as default.

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Now, whenever you open Word or create a new document, your default font settings should be set exactly to what you want.  And simply repeat these steps to change your default font settings again if you want.

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Editing your default template file

Another way to change your default font settings is to edit your Normal.dotm file.  This file is what Word uses to create new documents; it basically copies the formatting in this document each time you make a new document.

To edit your Normal.dotm file, enter the following in the address bar in Explorer or in the Run prompt:

%appdata%\Microsoft\Templates

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This will open your Office Templates folder.  Right-click on the Normal.dotm file, and click Open to edit it.  Note: Do not double-click on the file, as this will only create a new document based on Normal.dotm and any edits you make will not be saved in this file.

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Now, change any font settings as you normally would.  Remember: anything you change or enter in this document will appear in any new document you create using Word.

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If you want to revert to your default settings, simply delete your Normal.dotm file.  Word will recreate it with the standard default settings the next time you open Word.

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Please Note: Changing your default font size will not change the font size in existing documents, so these will still show the settings you used when these documents were created.  Also, some addins can affect your Normal.dotm template.  If Word does not seem to remember your font settings, try disabling Word addins to see if this helps.

Conclusion

Sometimes it’s the small things that can be the most frustrating.  Getting your default font settings the way you want is a great way to take away a frustration and make you more productive.

And here’s a quick question: Do you prefer the new default 11 point Calibri, or do you prefer 12 point Times New Roman or some other combination?  Sound off in the comments, and let the world know your favorite font settings.

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 04/14/10

Comments (30)

  1. pat white

    thank you, thankyou. thank you!!!!!!! ptw

  2. Eric F.

    as a college student having to write papers, 12pt Times New Roman…only way to go

  3. Matthew Guay

    @Eric – You’re totally right! I wish this would get updated since I personally prefer Calibri and other modern fonts, but I guess we’re stuck with it…

  4. Gordon

    12pt Times New Roman since each time I open Word is to write an essay.

  5. John McFarlane

    This post is not clear about the differences between 2007 and 2010. I spent 15min looking for the first 2 screens in 2007 before I figgured out that they were for 2010 only.

    I like Arial 12 for most applications!

  6. Matthew Guay

    @John – Actually, all of the screens are in Word 2007 except the ones that I marked as 2010 only (which was only the confirmation screen, actually). The ribbon styling is slightly different from 2007 to 2010, but otherwise for this they are very similar.

  7. rupeshkp728

    In older word like word 2003 also we can set the font settings to default.
    Like in word 2003:
    open word 2003 file
    open the font dialog box from format >>> font
    after doing font changes click the defualt button or use keys ALT+d

  8. Ben

    48 pt. Comic Sans, Sick! Can’t imagine it:)

  9. ed

    Preference is Times New Roman 12.
    ALSO, zoom to 75%.
    I’ve a template which combines all the above, but that’s a 3-click process..
    Trying to manually adjust the zoom is just not functional.
    Is there a setting which can give one-click zoom to 75%?

  10. ed

    Ignore my question about zoom setting.
    Once I open my template with Times New Roman, 12 & 75%, NEW gives me a blank page with those settings.
    I’ve been repeatedly using NEW DOCUMENT OR TEMPLATE to open & use the template.
    Just slow to get there.
    But your tip on changing font size has directly solved my inefficiency.
    Thank you.

  11. ed

    One more time.
    By adding ZOOM to the Quick Access Toolbar, you can select any %, with 75% being one of the standard choices.
    Excuse my taking up all this space.

  12. mgo

    THANK YOU!! Nobody else (including the Microsoft “experts”) mentioned anything about altering the Normal.dotm file, which is the REAL way to change the default font. In a world of cluelessness, you guys have come thru again!

  13. Cher

    I prefer the old settings.
    What use is it to have the darn thing skip a line when I am typing in and address?
    I can not stand the windows jumping to something other than what I want as I move them!!!!
    So far Windows 7 has ONLY made my days FRUSTRATION filled. I get half the work done that I used to do and go home tired, worn out and frustrated.

  14. Matthew Guay

    @Cher – Sounds like you’re having trouble with the line spacing settings. Click the line spacing button in the Home toolbar (like in this picture: http://www.howtogeek.com/geekers/up/sshot4cc6e85f6be9b.png), and select 1 to switch to normal settings. You can also tweak it to your liking from the line spacing options button on that menu.

    Hope that takes away a bit of your frustrations ;)

  15. Veeramani

    Thank you very much for the information. It helped me.

  16. Michelle

    OMG, THANK YOU!!!!

    I have been using on Microsot Word 2010 in my office for six months, and every time I need to write a letter, I have to change the font and paragraph settings. I was ready to throw my computer out the window. Changing the ‘default’ settings DID NOTHING!!!

    However, this trick –> %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates worked like a charm!

    I am so stoked; you have no idea! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

  17. DD

    I just got a newer computer with Windows 7 and Word 2010. In Word 2010 every document I open has a different viewing setting. I am very familiar with how to set font and other default settings but this one I cannot figure out. Sometimes people’s documents open as one page and sometimes it opens as two pages side by side like a book. How do you view one page only (centered) in Word while retaining the zoom level at 100% or even 120% would be better and have it default to this every time? I have to adjust for my view every time I open a document. Each one seems to open with a slightly different setting. This question has been asked before in other forums, but no one at Microsoft or elsewhere seems to have an answer. Some people (including me) simply don’t like the two-page layout in Word, and just want one page on the screen, centered, at 100 or 120%. With today’s wider screens the problem is exacerbated. It takes forever to get a paper viewable and adds a lot of time to my day when I have to open hundreds of documents and correct the setting. Any help would be appreciated.

  18. DEXSTA

    THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOO MUCH MAN

  19. Dave

    I cannot find the folder indicated above for the default template in Win 7. Doing a search for %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates produces no result and I have hidden folder/files set to show.

  20. Romare

    Very helpful. Since my default font changes back to Times Roman 10 a few times every day, I’m hoping that setting it this way will make it “stick.”

    The other thing I can’t get to stick are the Style Pane Options. I want all three checkboxes to be unchecked always, but they change back a million times a day. Is this choice now document-specific or is there a way I can default it the way I want it?

  21. George

    You make it so simple and straightforward. Thank you so much. Microsoft help told me to open the dialogue box but for the life of me I couldn’t see the faint corner box that you so nicely illustrated in your page.

  22. Sỹ Quốc

    It’s not work!
    I use Windows XP SP3, office 2010.
    I have changed the default font to Times New Roman with 14pt.
    But when I open a new word it keep font type but the size change to 10pt!
    I have tried to edit normal.dotm file and even delete it but fail!
    Who can help me solve this problem?

  23. Bob Smith

    Thanks, this is excellent help.

  24. Cynthia

    This worked for new documents as long as I had Word open. But when I closed and reopened Word, it regressed to their defaults and did not save those that I had indicated (though I checked the “save for all documents” box (Word 2010). Any suggestions?

  25. Martin

    Many thanks This solved my problem!

  26. Ashraf

    Thanks.You are the man

  27. Netta

    The second options works. Tried the first option but it doesnt work. Finally now my papers can be in times new roman and not in calibri. It took I dont know how many months to fix this issue. Thank you for this site.

  28. Kentucky Tuba

    Thank you Dear Geek! You are a Genius!! lol It worked great!

  29. Mary

    Thank you! Obviously this is not a new problem. It seems as if Microsoft could update by now. I have changed the font and point size at least 15 times and felt as if I were in some type of warped world!!!
    I do not like Calibri!!!!

  30. Izzy01

    Hi, thanks so much for this, I have looked at loads of other tips pages and tried different methods but none had worked and also none had suggested changing the template file – genius, thanks so much!! Iy will make a world of difference!! Thank you x

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