Safe Font Alternatives in PowerPoint

We learned that fonts do matter in PowerPoint, and this is certainly true when you must share your presentations with those who may not have the same fonts installed as the ones you used.

What are the implications? Does this mean that you should only use fonts such as Arial, Verdana, or Times in your PowerPoint slides? At least, everyone can see your slides identically, as you see them! Maybe this is not a bad idea, but do you really want to narrow down your font choices to the bare essentials. Thankfully, there are some alternatives to safe fonts in PowerPoint, and some of these options may work for you. The best part is that you may be able to show your slides with the fonts that you like!

Do note that these ideas may not be suitable for all scenarios. Let’s now look at these four options:

1. Embed Fonts

Embed Fonts

PowerPoint does allow some sort of font embedding, although it’s not perfect. Font licensing issues may not allow all fonts to be embedded. Further, only TrueType fonts can be embedded, so you must forego all the OpenType fonts! Even with all the limitations, embedded fonts will not work in PowerPoint for Mac, or even tablet and phone platforms. So font embedding is only an option when all your slides need to be shared by only Microsoft Windows users. To learn how you can embed fonts, look at our Embed Fonts in PowerPoint page.

2. Convert Fonts to Shapes

Convert Fonts to Shapes

This is probably the best option, but has two caveats:

  1. Your content is no longer editable.
  2. This option only works in the newest versions of PowerPoint.
  3. Although nothing is stopping you from changing all your text to shapes, let us admit that this option is best suited for limited text.

Plus none of the text animations will work with shape text. To convert text into shapes, explore the Converting PowerPoint Text to Shapes page.

3. Save to PDF or Flat File

Save to PDF of Flat File

You can export your presentation slides as a PDF, or even flatten all your slides to create a PowerPoint Picture Presentation, a special PowerPoint file type that creates flat images from all your slides and then replaces the slides themselves with the flat image.

4. Send a Font Link

Send a Font Link

Send your recipient a link from where they can download the font. This approach works best in two scenarios: when you use a public domain or free font; or when your company uses a proprietary font that can be shared. In some scenarios, you can also send a link to a site that charges for a license to use a font. Also, if you have a multiple-user license for a font, you can share it with others, especially your design agency. However, each site or font foundry has different licensing options, so make sure you double-check before sending a font to someone else.

As you can see, all approaches will not work all the time. However, if you combine these approaches, you can certainly overcome font limitations. And you can always use safe fonts in PowerPoint if these approaches don’t work for you.

About the Author

Geetesh BajajGeetesh Bajaj is an internationally acclaimed PowerPoint, storyboarding, info-diagramming and presenting expert who has been awarded the Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) every single year for 16 years now. As an MVP, Geetesh interacts and collaborates with the Microsoft PowerPoint product development team.

He is also on the Board of Directors for the Presentation Guild, a presentation industry trade association, based out of Cincinnati, USA.

Based out of Hyderabad, India, he believes that any presentation is a sum of its elements—these include abstract elements like story, concept, color, interactivity, and navigation—and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. Geetesh has authored six books.

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