I'm confused as to why my computer shows fonts looking slightly different of Word and Outlook when compared with Excel and Access all on Office 2016

This screenshot shows Calibri size 11 in Excel on the left and Outlook on the right.


Looking carefully you can see the right looks a little worse and pixelated.

What's the issue and how can I change it so the Word & Outlook version looks like the Excel version?

Another screenshot showing Calibri 11pt and Arial 10pt, Excel on left Outlook on right. Notice how Excel's font looks smoother:

Screenshot 2

  • Perhaps my appreciation for font quality is lacking, but I'm afraid I can't tell the difference either in the screenshot or in my own copies of Excel and Word.
    – Blackwood
    Nov 14, 2017 at 14:18
  • The difference is definately there and noticeable when looking at an entire page of what seems like poorly rendered fonts. I've added another screenshot with Arial, it should be a bit more noticeable.
    – smally
    Nov 14, 2017 at 14:36
  • What's the OS? Windows 10 has ClearType. Office apps have "Disable hardware graphics acceleration" and "Use subpixel positioning to smooth fonts on screen". Nov 14, 2017 at 16:22
  • Windows 10. It's not the an issue with ClearType, I've tried different settings. I've also disabled hardware graphics, there's no change. And subpixel option does alter the appearance, but doesn't achieve the desired result as shown in Excel/Access.
    – smally
    Nov 15, 2017 at 9:32
  • I used to use Office 2010, this had no issues... so I can only assume it's an Office 2016 problem.
    – smally
    Nov 15, 2017 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure about Outlook and Access, but it is a known fact that:

  1. Word 2013/2016 uses "whole-pixel anti-aliasing" and will never use ClearType (even if you enable global ClearType) [right side of your screenshot]. So there is nothing wrong with your PC. By the way, Word 2013/2016 will not use even "whole-pixel anti-aliasing" for some fonts if you disable ClearType globally.

  2. Excel 2013/2016 by default uses ClearType (if ClearType is enabled globally in your Windows) [left side of your screenshot]. If you disable ClearType globally Excel 2013/2016 will use "whole-pixel anti-aliasing" only for some fonts like Word 2013/2016 do.

  3. Only Word 2007/2010 and Excel 2007/2010 by default follow global ClearType status in your Windows. By the way you can get rights to choose ClearType status (enabled or disabled) that will be used in Office 2007/2010 products by setting Excel/Word's .exe files compatibility to "Windows XP mode" or by using Windows XP itself.

  • 1
    I've searched high and low to fix this issue, sadly there doesn't seem to be a solution. I eventually came to the same conclusion you have mentioned. I tried using your method of running my copy of Word 2016 in Windows XP mode, but it did not work. I find it really odd why Microsoft have done this... they could at least provide us an option. Perhaps Office 2019 will be an improvement.
    – smally
    Jan 21, 2018 at 19:25
  • Of course you can't get Cleartype in Office 2013/2016, because as I said: Windows XP mode trick works only for Office 2007/2010, but it will more helpfull for people who want to keep Cleartype enabled in Office, but disabled Cleartype globally in Windows, than for people who need just enable Cleartype in Office. By the way you will face some problems in Office 2007/2010 with Windows XP mode, but I wrote a solution here social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/…
    – Kyo
    Jan 23, 2018 at 8:33
  • 1
    There is an explanation why they stopped using ClearType in Word here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ClearType#ClearType_in_DirectWrite (look for "stopped using ClearType and switched to this DirectWrite greyscale antialiasing") Nov 10, 2021 at 9:49

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