Fonts play a crucial role in PowerPoint design:

  • Visual Appeal: Fonts contribute significantly to the overall aesthetic of a presentation, enhancing visual appeal and making the slides more engaging.
  • Readability: The right font choice ensures that text is easily readable, even from a distance, improving audience comprehension.
  • Consistency: Using consistent fonts across all slides helps maintain a uniform look, adding to the professional feel of the presentation.
  • Tone and Branding: Fonts can convey different tones and moods, aligning with the message and branding of the presentation. For instance, formal fonts are suitable for corporate presentations, while playful fonts may be ideal for creative projects.
  • Emphasis and Hierarchy: Different font styles and sizes can be used to highlight key points, create a hierarchy of information, and guide the audience through the content logically.
  • Accessibility: Appropriate font choices, such as those with clear distinctions between characters, enhance accessibility for all audience members, including those with visual impairments.



  • PowerPoint has the option to embed custom fonts (eg. non-microsoft fonts). My recommendation is, don’t.

Invisibly Adding Fonts

  • One of the strengths of PowerPoint is the ability to pull in slides from anywhere to make developing a presentation easy. This also means fonts used in those other slides are still used in the new deck – even if those fonts are not available on the computer.

Default Fonts

  • When a font is set, but is a non-Microsoft font, and not installed on the computer that opened the PowerPoint file, PowerPoint does not warn us that the presentation needs fonts not available (which is a much needed dialog box!). PowerPoint silently replaces all unavailable fonts with Microsoft fonts, called “Default Fonts”.
    Note: the default fonts are at the whim of PowerPoint, we do not get to choose what font is used. The Default fonts used may be different on each computer, so there is no way to assure what others will see.

Each of these behind-the-scenes issues can lead to presentation disaster with slides not displaying as designed, or in the case of embedded fonts, the presentation being locked and no edit options available! Awkward line wraps, missing text, text overlapping other content, and all kinds of bad things can happen when fonts needed are not available.


  • But, did the presenter know they did not have a custom font installed and what they see is PowerPoint assigning a random replacement font? Do you know that any slide deck you have most likely inherited many custom font needs?
  • For presentation makeover projects, fonts are just one element of the project. And it is almost always a surprise when we inform someone that their slide deck had 20+ different fonts in use (which the TLC Creative presentation design team then cleaned up to just the 2-4 approved fonts per their branding).
  • We accomplish this audit with Neuxpower’s Slidewise PowerPoint add-in.

Below are screen captures from a real client presentation. While this is somewhat extreme on the number of fonts, it represents what we commonly see in provided PowerPoint decks. This example is from a corporate client, using their corporate template.


The slide deck we received had 28 fonts used across the 50ish slides! That’s just too many fonts in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

The image above is the Slidewise audit that shows us every font used in the presentation. It also lets us go to every slide that a font is used on. An important note is that Slidewise’s replace font functionality is far superior to PowerPoints font tools.

Let’s look at the template of this corporate presentation (which is often another behind-the-scenes issue to be dealt with, see post #1 in this series; here). Our goal is to identify the preset template fonts.

This template uses custom fonts (eg. non-Microsoft fonts), and as often happens, the custom “Aspira” fonts were not supplied with the slide deck…

Interpreting the Slidewise font audit:

  • Black fonts are Microsoft fonts or custom fonts that are installed on the computer
  • Orange fonts are fonts used in the presentation that are custom fonts (eg. not Microsoft fonts) and NOT installed on the computer.
  • Note: all text using the orange fonts (custom fonts that are not installed) are displayed by PowerPoint with Default Fonts. PowerPoint does not provide any indicator that text seen in the presentation is displayed with replacement Default Fonts. This is a missing component that has lead to unchecked and unknown fonts in presentations.

While PowerPoint does have a “replace fonts” feature, we are not going to use it. Here is a summary of how the TLC Creative presentation design team uses Slidewise to “clean-up” the fonts in a slide deck.

  1. Select a font that is not needed/wanted
  2. Optional: expand the font to show each slide the selected font is used on. Click SHOW IN POWERPOINT or double-click to go to that slide – the text box where that font is used will be indicated!
  3. Note: Orange fonts in the list are fonts not installed on that computer. For this presentation the template is based on the Aspira fonts, so we are going to NOT remove these fonts.
  4. With the Verdana font selected, choose REPLACE FONTS. The REPLACE FONTS dialog opens. Ultimately, we are going to replace the fonts with a selected replacement font.
    • TIP: select all fonts to be replaced at the same time, then choose the replacement font (vs. doing this process for each font one font at a time).
  5. From the REPLACE WITH drop down, select a specific font, or chose the “Theme Font (Body)” or “Theme Font (Header)” option.
    • Because our goal is to consolidate all fonts to the template preset fonts we used the “Theme Font (Body)” option.
    • This also sets all of the text boxes to the template theme font so the fonts will automatically update when those slides are pasted into a new slide deck (this is the way PowerPoint works best!).
    • Note: in this example, the template is using a custom font, Aspira Light, which is not installed on the designer’s computer. But Slidewise will still assign all of the selected text boxes with the custom font even though it is currently not installed on the computer.

In under 3 minutes we identified the presentation used 28 fonts! Then consolidated (#6) using Slidewise, to 5 fonts. Why 5 fonts? There are 4 different weights, or versions, of the template assigned Aspira font. We kept all of the fonts in this font family. And the 6th font, Wingdings is used for text bullets and icons, so it should never be replaced without carefully investigating what it is being used for.

Consolidating the fonts was easy and quick (under 3 minutes!). But that sets us up for the next step; manually reviewing each slide to look for text formatting and updating (fixing) needs. Changing to a different font can mean the following things need to be checked/updates: text box sizes and positions need to be updated for the fonts to display properly in the slide layout, line breaks need to be adjusted, line spacing, font sizes, or font styling all could need updating so the text displays as intended.

What fonts, and how many fonts, used in a slide deck is somewhat a hidden mystery. But slides using fonts that are not available is a disaster in the making. What in years past was a manual process of hunting down missing fonts has become a streamlined and easy process with the Slidewise PowerPoint add-in! But it has also brought to light how bad PowerPoint’s font management is, and how common slide decks with too many fonts are, for example: 10-20-40-112 (that’s our # of fonts record)!

-Troy and the TLC Creative design team