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New default font, Aptos, in Microsoft 365 and Word

Microsoft has released a new range of fonts called ‘Aptos’ that are the new default fonts in Microsoft 365.  Here’s what you need to know about the new fonts.

Firstly – as Douglas Adams (much missed) reminded us: DON’T PANIC. Despite what you may have read, your documents should not change before your eyes to a different font.  Even the fonts are switched, most people won’t notice a lot of difference between Aptos and Calibri.


The existing default fonts (Calibri and Calibri Light) will remain installed. Aptos family are cloud fonts, only available in Microsoft 365, not in Windows or Mac generally.

Microsoft’s announcement has been full of overblown phrases and references.  For example, we’re supposed to believe that the new font has been, in part, inspired in part by TV host, Stephen Colbert?  Gimme strength.

On Insiders Microsoft 365 releases, Aptos fonts have now appeared.  As well as the usual variations (Black, Light, Narrow etc) there are monospace and serif versions.

Side-by-side comparisons

We’ve made side-by-side or slider comparison pages for both the body text defaults (Calibri vs Aptos) and heading text (Aptos Display vs Calibri Light).

Aptos Display for headings

The new default heading font is “Aptos Display” which has thicker lines than its predecessor, Calibri Light.


Aptos is the new name for the Bierstadt font.

“Aptos” is the name of a town in Santa Cruz, California from an Ohlone word meaning “the people.” .

To me it sounds like a name from the Greek Myths i.e. “Aptos was helped by Ares and Apollo in his attack on Troy” but alas it’s not.

Bierstadt is still available

Bierstadt font is the predecessor of Aptos as part of Microsoft’s series of possible new fonts. It has been on the Microsoft 365 font list for a few years. The two Bierstadt’s are still available.

What’s the point?

Personally, not a big fan of Aptos.  For all of Microsoft’s gushing hype, it’s not that different to Calibri.

There are technical differences and a much wider range of options (including serif and monospace). Has Microsoft made the choice for commercial reasons rather than aesthetics?

Aptos fonts are installed via Office as cloud fonts that will limit full document compatibility to other Microsoft 365 users.  Office 2021/2019 can get the Aptos fonts, when needed. Office 2016 and earlier versions have truly awful Aptos font subsitutions.

Two ways to change document defaults in Microsoft Word
Two ways to change the default font and more in Word

Surprise! Office 2021 & Office 2019 has the all Aptos fonts
Microsoft’s font substitution for Aptos really sucks
Aptos fonts and making a PDF from Office

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