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How to change the default font in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook

Don't like the font that Microsoft has chosen for your documents and files? You can easily change it.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
different fonts
Tetra Images/Getty Images

Microsoft recently dumped Calibri as the default font in its Office, aka Microsoft 365, suite. When you try to create something in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook, Aptos is the new font that pops up.

I'm not too crazy about Aptos and still find Calibri more readable and appealing. If you feel the same way, don't worry. You can easily change the default font in all four apps back to Calibri or any other font you prefer. Here's how.

Also: How to use Copilot Pro to write, edit, and analyze your Word documents

The steps I cover here should do the trick no matter which version of Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365 you run, as long as it's not an ancient edition from bygone days. Also, there are a few different ways to change the default font, but I'll focus on just one or two methods for each application.

How to change the default font in Microsoft Word

1. Change the font in the Font dialog box

From any Word document or blank document, click the small arrow in the lower-left corner of the Font section on the Home Ribbon, or right-click anywhere and select Font from the popup menu. In the Font dialog box, select the font that you want to set as the default. 

Also: How to quickly adjust the font size on Android 14 for easier readability

Here, you can also confirm or change the size. Click the Set as default button. You'll be asked if you want to set the new font for this document only or all documents based on the Normal.dotm template. Choose the option for all documents and click OK. Any new document based on the Normal template will use your chosen font.

Change the font in the Options window
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

2. Update the Normal.dotm template

Here's a more intricate but effective way to change the default font. This method is useful for setting specific defaults for elements beyond the font, such as line spacing, paragraph formatting, and text alignment.

Create a blank document with the font and size you want as the default. Make changes to other elements that you want to set as certain defaults. Click the File menu and select Save As. Change the file type from Word document with a docx extension to Word Macro-Enabled Template with a dotm extension.

Change the destination folder to C:\Users\[your username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates. Save the file with the name Normal.dotm file, replacing the existing version.

Update the Normal.dotm template
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

How to change the default font in Microsoft Excel

3. Change the font in the Options window

In any existing or blank workbook, click the File menu and select Options. In the Excel Options window, ensure you're at the General tab. In the section that says When creating new workbooks, click the drop-down box for Use this as the default font and change it to your preferred font. 

Also: How to use ChatGPT to write Excel formulas

Next, change the font size, if you wish. When done, click OK to close the Options window. Close and then reopen Excel for the change to take effect.

Change the font in the Options window
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

How to change the default font in Microsoft PowerPoint

4. Change the font in Slide Master

Launch PowerPoint with a blank presentation. Click the View Ribbon and select Slide Master. In Slide Master view, click the Fonts icon on the Ribbon and select the font you want to use as the default. If the font doesn't appear, click the option for Customize Font, choose the right font from the drop-down menu for Body Font, and then click OK.

Change the font in Slide Master
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Click the Slide Master tab and select Close Master View. Click the File tab and select Save As. Click the dropdown field for the file type and choose PowerPoint Template (*.potx). Click the link for More options. In the Save as dialog box, move to the C:\Users\[Your Username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates folder. In the File name text box, type Blank as the name for this to become the default start-up template, and then click Save.

Save a blank template
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Close and then reopen PowerPoint. In the Start screen, select Default Theme as the template, and confirm that your chosen font is now the default.

Select Default Theme as the template
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

How to change the default font in Microsoft Outlook

5. Change the font in the Options window

With Outlook, you can change the default font for new mail messages, replies or forwards to messages, and plain text messages. In Outlook, click the File menu and select Options. In the Options window, select the Mail tab and click the button for Stationery and Fonts. Click the Font button for New mail messages and choose the font and size that will appear when you create a new email. Click OK.

Also: Microsoft suddenly did something quite simple and it's ridiculously helpful

Click the Font button for Replying or forwarding messages. Choose the default font and size that will appear when you reply to or forward an existing email and click OK.

Click the Font button for Composing and reading plain text messages. Choose the font that displays when composing a plain text message and click OK. Click OK to close the Signatures and Stationery window and then OK again to close the Outlook options window. Try composing a new email. In addition, try replying to or forwarding an existing message to confirm that your new font is in effect.

Change the font in the Options window
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET
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