Surprise! Office 2021 & Office 2019 has the all Aptos fonts

An undocumented surprise for Office 2021 and Office 2019 customers. The new Aptos fonts are automatically installed in Office 2021/Office 2019 even though Microsoft insists they are for Microsoft 365 only. However, there’s a crucial difference and strange anomaly between how Aptos fonts work in Office 2021/2019 vs Microsoft 365.

According to Microsoft the Aptos font family are for Microsoft 365 but our tests with Office 2021 and Office 2019 for Windows show that the Aptos fonts are automatically downloaded and installed.

Three Aptos fonts are installed automatically when an Office 2021 app starts (unless already present). The other Aptos fonts are only downloaded when a document requires them. Microsoft hasn’t hinted this is possible, let alone documented it.

That’s great news for ‘mixed’ organizations with both Microsoft 365 and Office 2021/Office 221 running. It means there should be less or no font troubles with shared documents.

For Microsoft 365 users, it means you can use the new Aptos fonts in emails, docs, sheets and slides knowing that receivers/collaborators with Office 2021 / Office 2019 will see the same thing.

No Aptos font substitution necessary?

We’re interested in what font substitutions other versions of Office made when asked to show an Aptos style font. But when we opened a test document using all the Aptos fonts in Word 2021 or Word 2019 , no font substitutions were made.

The message was “No font substitution necessary. All fonts used in this document are available”. That was strange since Office 2021 and Office 2019 aren’t supposed to have Aptos fonts and they definitely had not been installed.

Looking in the cloud fonts folder, there are all the Aptos family fonts.

Office 2021 / Office 2019 has downloaded the Aptos fonts to allow the test document to appear with the correct fonts.

Aptos fonts installed automatically on Office 2021 or Office 2019

More tests reveal that Office 2021 / Office 2019 is downloading the basic Aptos fonts automatically as soon as an app starts.  It’s not just to match a certain document, they are added during the app startup if missing.

For example, starting Word, Excel or PowerPoint 2021/2019 will make three Aptos fonts install immediately, before any document is opened.  Aptos Display and Aptos Narrow are the two new default fonts for Excel 365. plus the standard Aptos used in Word and PowerPoint

Other Aptos fonts like Aptos Mono and Aptos Serif are downloaded when a document, sheet or slide requires it.

The Aptos difference in Office 2021 & Office 2019

There’s a difference between Aptos font availability in Microsoft 365 and Office 2021 / Office 2019

Aptos fonts are cloud fonts which are automatically downloaded and installed when first requested by selecting the font or the font is needed in a newly opened document.

In Microsoft 365 all the Aptos fonts appear on the font selection menus in the Office apps like this.

The cloud fonts are listed whether they are installed or not. If selected, the app will download and install that font.

But in the Office 2021 / Office 2019 apps, only Aptos, Aptos Display and Aptos Narrow appear on the font menu right away.  That’s because those fonts are installed automatically when the Office 2021/2019 app starts.

The other Aptos fonts (Black, ExtraBold, Light, SemiBold, Mono and Serif) are NOT available for selection even though they could be installed on demand.

Those fonts will only be downloaded and installed when a doc, sheet, slide or email that selects that cloud font is opened.  Office 2021 / Office 2019 will then, if necessary, quickly download and install the font.  Once that happens, the cloud font will appear in Office 2021 / Office 2019 font selection lists … sort of …

Aptos fonts missing from the menu

There’s something screwy happening with the Office 2021 / Office 2019 font list. Here’s the font menu after all the Aptos fonts are installed.

Some fonts are missing from the list (compared to Microsoft 365).

Aptos Black, Aptos ExtraBold and Aptos SemiBold are NOT listed on the font menu even though they’ve been installed (we checked the cloud fonts folder, the .ttf files are there).

It could be a bug or, more likely, Microsoft has deliberately excluded those fonts from the menu.

The three fonts are still selectable, despite not showing on the menu.  Just type the name of the font and Office will apply it.


Microsoft hasn’t disclosed any of this. It’s based on our repeated tests using Office 2021 for Windows (version 2308 build 16731.20170) with Windows 10. You’re welcome to try for yourself, make sure you have the latest version of Office 2021.

It’s a very recent change in Office 2019 (even late August 2023 versions didn’t have Aptos support). Make sure you have the latest Office 2019, our tests were on version 2308 build 16731.20170. Thanks to Office Watcher, Bill W, for his ‘heads up’ on the Office 2019 change.

We’ve not been able to test Office 2021/2019 for Mac, though we’d be surprised if Aptos fonts weren’t also installed as cloud fonts.

It’s possible the same behavior has been added to Office LTSC (the volume licence version of Office 2021).

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