Microsoft to Choose New Default Font to Replace Calibri

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  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,091
    I just recalled the fact that there was a thread a while back about how it was unfortunate that the Macintosh replaced Lucida Grande with another font.
    If Calibri (instead of Segoe) resembles Lucida Grande, then perhaps this is done so that Windows can look more like whatever the Macintosh changes to look like...
  • I just recalled the fact that there was a thread a while back about how it was unfortunate that the Macintosh replaced Lucida Grande with another font.
    If Calibri (instead of Segoe) resembles Lucida Grande, then perhaps this is done so that Windows can look more like whatever the Macintosh changes to look like...

    John, can you rephrase this? Perhaps I am just tired, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of what you were trying to say in any way that made any sense to me.

    Neither Calibri nor Segoe “resembles Lucida Grande.”
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,091
    Well, I may have looser standards for "resembles" than you do.
    Basically, though, I can rephrase it to be so clear that it will make sense.
    I am essentially predicting that Microsoft will change the fonts it uses so as to copy what Apple is doing (without being too obvious about it), so I am predicting that Microsoft's replacement for Calibri will, like the new system font for the Macintosh, look like Helvetica. (More so even than Arial, perhaps.)
  • Microsoft is not looking for a replacement of the system UI font (Segoe) but of the document font in Office applications (Calibri). Apple’s system UI font (SF) is not available for use in documents (e.g., in Pages).
    Well, I may have looser standards for "resembles" than you do.
    Basically, though, I can rephrase it to be so clear that it will make sense.
    I am essentially predicting that Microsoft will change the fonts it uses so as to copy what Apple is doing (without being too obvious about it) […]
    I am not seeing any indication of why this would be Microsoft’s plan. They have built their brand around humanist typography while Apple’s brand is centered on a neo-grotesque look. Both brands are successful as far as I can tell; no reason for Microsoft to give up the differentiation to its competitor.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,974
    They have built their brand around humanist typography...
    And around readability research. But I wonder if the pressure of the neo-grot fashion will be too much to resist, at least at the document default level?

  • I do hope whichever they choose, the OsF are default, and tabular OsF in Excel. And while they’re at it: more access to features in Excel and other non-Word, non-Outlook Office apps. And are true small caps finally accessible in Office apps yet?
  • ... more access to features in Excel and other non-Word, non-Outlook Office apps...
    Can you clarify what you have in mind?

    (E.g., I can't imagine that most Excel users will have a clue what old-style figures are.)
  • In Word and Outlook, you can get to not all, but many OpenType features in the Advanced tab of the Font dialog. (2010 shown here.) There is no such granularity in Excel or PowerPoint, for example, unless it’s changed since 2010.

    I’ve been asking this question for over twenty years, since the OpenType Jamboree in fact, and the answer is always something like “the Office team can’t be arsed.” Meanwhile the font folks keep plowing forward; I noticed a few years back someone finally added SC + OsF to good old Times New Roman, for example. Made me smile.

    And can’t be arsed is accurate, for all I know—I recall something like Office apps have their own rendering or shaping engine distinct from Windows itself for legacy cruft reasons, and harmonizing it with whatever the latest Uniscribe is is a nontrivial task. I just wonder, from time to time, if the definitive office application suite will suddenly start talking to the other technology that MS has spent so much time and money developing.



  • (E.g., I can't imagine that most Excel users will have a clue what old-style figures are.)
    Well sure, but it's probably also true that most Excel users don't have a clue what pivot tables or Visual Basic are. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,091
    I’ve been asking this question for over twenty years, since the OpenType Jamboree in fact, and the answer is always something like “the Office team can’t be arsed.”

    That is, no doubt, what their answers sound like to you. The answer that they think they're giving, though, no doubt runs more like this: "But that isn't what a spreadsheet is for!".
    Spreadsheets crunch numbers, so output that looks like it came off of a 300 lpm line printer ought to be good enough for anyone.
    Thus, the conclusion might be drawn that the root of the problem is that Microsoft Windows, whatever it might be, is not command-line Unix, so one can't just pipe the output of Excel into Word where the fancy OpenType stuff may be done unto it.
    And thus the solution would probably be some fancy way to integrate spreadsheets into word processor documents, and IIRC, this sort of thing has been... tried.
    I think it has not in practice gotten much beyond the level of putting a rectangle in a word processing document in which a table from a spreadsheet may be printed, with arcane use of Visual Basic perhaps allowing one to go a little further.
    I'm not sure if that's a failure on the part of Microsoft in particular, or the software industry in general, or if the problem is simply inherently difficult.
    If one could perhaps pipe the output of a spreadsheet to something like troff, rather than to a WYSIWYG word processor, perhaps some remedial action could even be meaningful...
  • I wonder why the versions of the proposed fonts that you can currently access in Word have no Eastern European diacritics. Shame!
  • As I understand it, they are in a preliminary phase and will be extended once a winner is chosen.

  • (E.g., I can't imagine that most Excel users will have a clue what old-style figures are.)
    Well sure, but it's probably also true that most Excel users don't have a clue what pivot tables or Visual Basic are. 
    Lol! Probably true. But still more likely than old-style figures.

    Unless, of course, Excel were to start using OSFs by default: people would become educated very quickly... as well as become very vocal about that change. ;-)
  • John Savard said:

    Thus, the conclusion might be drawn that the root of the problem is that Microsoft Windows, whatever it might be, is not command-line Unix, so one can't just pipe the output of Excel into Word where the fancy OpenType stuff may be done unto it.

    And thus the solution would probably be some fancy way to integrate spreadsheets into word processor documents, and IIRC, this sort of thing has been... tried.
    Um... Have people heard of copy and paste? It's quite useful, actually, and can be used in a very broad range of situations. And because of its general utility, it's likely more people could learn how to use it than how do something from a command line.

    Actually, both techniques—copy from Excel/paste into Word, and achieving something similar in a Powershell command line—have been supported for many years. So far, there seems to be more uptake of the copy/paste technique, but perhaps it's still early.

    ;-) 

    Seriously, spreadsheet reports can be printed directly from Excel, and it has long had features for how to arrange spreadsheet content onto pages. I have no idea how much that is used, though.

    On the other hand, it certainly is common to prepare reports that mix different types of content, and Word is a far better choice for that then Excel. One can certainly copy a range of cells from Excel, paste them into Word and reformat. (You can even have the data linked back to the original Excel file so that changes to the Excel data get reflected in the Word doc.) The only caveat is that, if you want to reformat in Word, you need to choose the right paste option.
  • John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 245
    Update: the winner was Bierstadt, now named Aptos, with newly unveiled mono and serif variants. The serif vaguely reminds me of Corporate A by Weidemann.


  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,748
    The serifed version reminds me of a serifed version of Middleton’s Radiant, from the 1930s. 


  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,091
    The serifed version reminds me of a serifed version of Middleton’s Radiant, from the 1930s. 


    It's not that bad, at least in my opinion. If anything, the serif version seems to be even less bad than Georgia. And the normal sans-serif version of Aptos seems to be quite good.
    Good enough, in fact, to go head-to-head with Helvetica. But possibly not quite so good, despite that, for its intended purpose. From the small sample shown, it's hard to tell how the face will work out in its intended use, but that may mean that my concern is mistaken.


  • John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 245
    I do like the serif variant so far, at least from what little I can see of it. I wonder if the other families will add weights or variants that weren’t in the original preview releases as well.

    Fonts are my favorite Microsoft product. They will last longer than all their other products.
  • Looking at the “CloudFonts” versions, Seaford, Skeena and Walbaum have basic character sets with Western European accents only. (Perhaps selecting them in Office installed on a Central European Windows machine downloads a different version, though somehow I doubt Microsoft would go to such effort.) 
    They do have a few OT features such as alternate unicameral g, oldstyle figures in Seaford, tabular figures in all of them. Walbaum is missing the small caps, figure styles and expanded Latin of its commercial Pro versions sold on MyFonts, which makes some sense to me. Sabon Next LT is missing the ornaments and certain other features of its Pro versions sold on Myfonts, but it adds Greek and Cyrillic characters that are not part of the versions sold on Myfonts—similar to the Greek and Cyrillic characters in Apple’s current version of Hoefler Text. The description and license strings in the Walbaum fonts are inconsistent with the fonts themselves, referencing features not present, etc.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,974
    The commissioned character set for the candidate replacement fonts was limited to CP 1252 (Western Europe). The selected family, now renamed Aptos, has been extended to support the current standard Office glyph set for Latin+ fonts (I’ve not examined it, so a, not sure what else that is in the extended Calibri might have been included at this stage). None of the other families have been extended, but I am hopeful they might be. If they find some particular use within Microsoft, or if a lot of users request, this is more likely.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,145
    I published Aptly in 2020.
    Don’t worry Microsoft, I won’t sue.
  • Seems apt.
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