Meet the Courier family | Proper Manuscript Format | William Shunn

Meet the Courier family

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A reader writes to ask:

I have a question about font. In your article, you suggested that only Courier or Times New Roman should be used, and you strongly recommended Courier. My version of Microsoft Word apparently does not support the Courier font, but it does have New Courier. I have attempted, to no avail thus far, to determine what I might do to change my Microsoft Word to allow the Courier font. Is New Courier an acceptable alternative (preferable to Times New Roman) or would you recommend using Times New Roman, assuming I cannot get the old Courier font to work on my Word version?

I should clarify that when I refer to Courier, I'm speaking of all fonts in the Courier family. This would include Courier New (not "New Courier"), which is the actual Courier font included by default with most computer operating systems. Courier New is absolutely fine and correct for you to use in your manuscript.

Some writers who prefer to use a Courier font find Courier New too light and spindly for their tastes. A favorite substitute for these folks is Dark Courier, which is free to download and install (at least if you're a Windows user).

Finally, just for the sake of interest, Slate has an interesting article on some of the history and uses of Courier, "Courier, Dispatched."

1 Comment

Great! Thanks for being so generous in sharing your insight & experience with novice Writers! I've often wondered about this very issue!

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FLOG is Hugo- and Nebula-nominated author William Shunn's blog on manuscript formatting and preparation for fiction writers. It features formatting questions from real readers and writers like you. Submit your questions to format at shunn dot net. Identitying information will remain private. We regret that we can't always respond individually to submissions, and that we can't answer every question we receive.

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