I'm trying to build a Microsoft Word template for use by people who do not necessarily have some of the fonts that the template prefers.

In CSS one can define a "font-family", such as font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif; or font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; (which isn't really the standard meaning for "font family", but never mind). But in Word, my understanding (from other Superuser questions) is that Word doesn't have a provision for font substitution in a document.

But is there a way to do the font substitution in a template, as opposed to a document?

My intended use is documents for print and PDF, not for web, so the CSS solution is not an option.

I have my ancient Word 2003 on my desktop, but I can use a more recent version if that will solve the problem.

Related question in case I have to use desktop publishing software instead of just Word: https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/111434/font-substitution-in-scribus

1 Answer 1


Word doesn't have a provision for font substitution in a document.

Actually it does.

The easiest way to figure out what font substitution Word is doing in a document is to follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)

  2. At the left side of the screen click Advanced.

  3. Scroll down to the Show Document Content section. (See Figure 1.)

    Figure 1. The advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Click the Font Substitution button.

What happens at this point depends on whether there are substituted fonts in your document. If there are no font substitutions within the document, Word informs you and there is nothing more to do. If there are font substitutions, Word displays the Font Substitution dialog box. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Font Substitution dialog box.

The dialog box quickly shows you the missing fonts and what Word used to substitute for each missing font. If you pick one of the missing fonts, at the bottom of the dialog box you can specify a different font to be substituted, if desired.

Note, as well, the Convert Permanently button. This button is equivalent to doing a Find and Replace to change all the missing fonts to the specified replacement fonts. It obviously affects the formatting within your document, and no more on-the-fly substitutions will occur.

If you are interested in knowing which fonts are similar to a given font, then this online resource may be instructive:


All you need to do is type in a font name and when you click the Go button you'll see typefaces considered similar to the one you questioned.

Source Finding Word's Font Substitutes (Microsoft Word)

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