Typography is a term that was first used when referring to how letters were chosen and set for printing on a press. In today's age of word processors, it now refers to font selection and formatting. Pay careful attention to how you use typography in your essay. Font selection is of key importance. When you are writing an essay for a school assignment, you should make sure your font looks neat and professional. Remember, your essay will have to be read at some point, so you should make sure it can be read easily.
Fonts to Choose
Serif fonts assist with readability. A serif font has little lines on the end of the character. The lines help the eye move from letter to letter more easily. Some examples of standard serif fonts in Microsoft Word are Times New Roman, Courier New, and Book Antiqua. You should use a serif font for the majority of your essay. Be careful, though. Some serif fonts, still would not be acceptable. For instance, serif font styles such as Goudy Stout or Engravers MT would not look professional as the text of your essay because they are big and bulky. Choose carefully.
Sans serif fonts do not have the little lines at the end of the letters. Some examples of sans serif fonts are Arial, Calibri, and Comic Sans. Usually, sans serif fonts work well in short sections of text such as headings or titles. It is best not to use a sans serif font as the bulk of your essay. Furthermore, while I suggested Comic Sans as an example for a sans serif font, its use is typically frowned upon as it does not present a professional quality.
Another aspect of typography is the size of your font. Fonts are measured in points. A one point font is 1/72 of an inch. A 72 point font would measure one inch. Normally, you should choose 10 to 12 point font for all parts of your essay. Font sizes smaller than ten points become difficult to see and read. Font sizes larger than twelve point are difficult to read as well, and they make your teacher think that you're just trying to use more space.
Bolding & Italicizing
At times, you may need to use bold, italics, or underlining. Bold is best used only in the title of your essay, if at all. Italics and underlining are typically used when you need to emphasize text or if you are referring to a title of another work.
To format your fonts in Microsoft Word, first select the text you wish to format. From there, you have a few options. You can format directly with the formatting toolbar which, by default, appears at the top of the window. You can also use the Format Font Window, which will give you more options. To get there, right click with the mouse and choose "Font" from the menu that appears. The Format Font Window looks like the image to the left (click on the image for a larger view). The selected text will appear in the preview pane. As you format the text, you can see how your text will look in the preview pane. When you have completed formatting your text, click OK to return to your document.