Environment: Windows 7, MS Office 2007, OpenOffice

In the Control Panel->Fonts section, there are a number of fonts available, sometimes as families. For example, the Arial family (double click on it) shows both Arial and Arial Narrow. The Arial one has a few different versions, like "Arial Bold" and "Arial Bold Italic" and "Arial Italic". The Cambria font is the similar.

When, if at all, are these Bold, Italic, etc. versions of these fonts ever used? In MS Office and OpenOffice they they are not available to choose from.

Any insights on if I even need to keep them on my system at all?


A properly designed font usually has subtle differences between normal, bold and italic faces.

For example, open up a word processor and have a look at lower case f in a font like Calibri. The italicised f is not simply the normal f on an angle - it has an extra 'flourish' at the base.

If a font does not have separate italic and bold designs then they can be simulated by rendering normal fonts on a slant (fake italic) or with heavier outlines (fake bold) but they are generally not as pleasing to the eye.

  • Thanks Mike. Is this to say that if it is not that fake slant, for example, that the Italic version of the font is actually being used behind the scenes? – Otaku May 7 '10 at 3:07
  • Correct. It doesn't hurt to reduce the number of installed fonts on your system but I'd recommend not to break up font families. – Mike Fitzpatrick May 7 '10 at 4:22

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