Editing Tip: Choosing the Right Font
In many cases, the initial choice of font is not critical because the journal will typeset the final version. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the font for your next manuscript, including journal preferences.
Among the many choices you have when writing your paper is the particular font you choose. Microsoft Word defaults to the Calibri font, but that doesn’t mean that Calibri is your only choice. In many cases, the initial choice of font is not critical because the journal will typeset the final version. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the font for your next manuscript:
1. Journal preferences
Once you have identified the journal you will send your work to, check their author guidelines for specific requirements related to font. Some journals will provide a list of acceptable fonts or recommended font sizes. Remember that journals may have specific requests for fonts in figures, too (e.g., 8-point Arial), and these are likely different from the fonts used in the body of the paper.
Like any visual medium, writing also carries some aesthetic qualities that affect the reader. Beyond the reader’s stylistic preferences, the style of font can actually influence how much a reader takes your work seriously. For example, a study done on the New York Times website found that readers agree with statements written in Baskerville font more than several other fonts, including Georgia, a similar serif font. And on the other side, some fonts (like Comic Sans) are notoriously bad at conveying serious information and should be avoided
No matter which font you choose, be sure that the font is consistent throughout the document (and the same size). As with many other features of your paper, consistency throughout is often more important than the nature of the choice that you make, as a consistent writing style reflects careful attention to detail and will give a good impression about your research.
We hope that today’s tip helps you choose a font for your next paper. If you have any questions, you can always reach us at [email protected]. Best of luck with your writing!