I’ve just found Stylistic Alternates on Word!

Did you ever know that stylistic alternates can be enabled on Microsoft Word? 

Example of Stylistic Alternates.

Well I didn’t. (Until now.) And I’m in furore.

During my early beginings as a Word user, I got the impression that Microsoft Word was a rip-off and that the developers did not bother about small typographical elements like discretionary ligatures, or stylistic alternates. And so I dismissed Word as a design-centric word processor. (I suspect it was because of the unclean interface and sub-par fonts in the past versions of Word).

It was only when I did a quick search on my browser that I realised that typographical features for geeks could be toggled on. I was in a designer’s paradise. Recently, I have been downloading all sorts of free fonts from various sources (think Google Fonts and GitHub), and have been having a whale of a time tinkering around them. 

But I have also uncovered a rare gem from Word’s own warehouse of typefaces. And that typeface is Gabriola. Gabriola is a neat calligraphic typeface with an astonishing number of stylistic alternates (“salt”s for short). You could say it’s Microsoft’s version of Bickham Script, which is avialable on Adobe Fonts.

A picture of the stylistic alternates within Gabriola Typefaces
Gabriola’s stylistic alternates have gone haywire (legit).

Some free fonts

Meanwhile, I’ll share with you a couple of open-source fonts that you can download and try out on Microsoft Word:

  • Space Mono (a “future-retro” monospaced typeface with nice inktraps)
Space Mono type specimen on Google Fonts.
  • Pacifico (a great handwriting font that I’ve included in another of my posts)
  • IBM Font Family (the corporate typeface for technology giant IBM, includes sans, sans condensed, serif, and mono styles)
  • Inter (a high-legibility neo-grotesque developed for screens)
Varying weights of Inter typeface.
  • Raleway (a modern sans serif intended for display purposes)
  • Grafier (an avant-grade interpretation of Baskerville)
Grafier Heavy Display. It also works with Cyrillic.
  • 36 Days (a nonsense font akin to ransom notes [but more stylish])

Happy testing! And remember: Stay home and stay safe from the coronavirus!


Published by Thomas Rettig


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