Default Vista fonts not available in Office 2007 applications

August 9, 2010

Several fonts were set as the default in Windows XP, and thus were available to all applications, including Office 2003 apps — fonts like ‘Arial Bold’ (which is different from ‘Arial’ with bold formatting).

My main client has *thousands* of documents created in Word 2003 (or earlier) that use ‘Arial Bold’ for some heading, caption and TOC styles, as set by their templates. In 2009, the company switched to Vista and Office 2007. No big deal — their Word 2003 documents all open happily in Word 2007. And a new template for the project I’m working on was created for Word 2007, based on the existing Word 2003 template.

Because it was based on the existing Word 2003 template, ‘Arial Bold’ remained the style for those headings, captions etc. as there was NO indication or information that it was no longer part of the default fonts in Office 2007 or that it would create problems. It seemed to display fine on screen and in print, and it was still listed as the font in the style definitions in Word 2007.

We all went on, blissfully unaware that it was no longer available in Office 2007 applications. Until I tried to PDF a document using Word 2007 and Acrobat 9. The heading, caption and TOC styles that used ‘Arial Bold’ came out in a serif font, similar to Times New Roman! On further investigation, I noticed that ‘Arial Bold’ was no longer listed in the list of fonts in Word 2007, though it was listed in the Windows Fonts folder in Vista.

Changing the Acrobat embedded and font substitution settings made no difference either. No matter what I did, the PDF still came out with very weird styles wherever ‘Arial Bold’ was used.

I had to go through the rigmarole of getting local admin privileges to reinstall ‘Arial Bold’ font, but that didn’t work either. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get ‘Arial Bold’ listed in the fonts list in Word 2007. Or any other Office 2007 application for that matter. I contacted the creator of the template, and he had exactly the same results as I did — no ‘Arial Bold’. So he changed the template so that those heading etc. styles used ‘Arial’ with bold formatting. However, many documents I’m still working on are based on the earlier template, so I have to manually change the styles that use ‘Arial Bold’ to ‘Arial’ with bold formatting. It doesn’t take long, but it’s another step in the reviewing and editing process I have to add to my checklist.

I did some more investigating and found that while ‘Arial Bold’ is a default font in Windows Vista and Windows 7, it DOES NOT display in my copies of Word 2007, Excel 2007, etc. on either my own Vista PC or my client’s Vista PC, or on the PCs of others in the company whom I’ve asked to check this.

A bit more investigation shows that ‘Arial Bold’ is not a default Office 2007 font — see highlighted section in screen shot below.

Surely a font installed in the system’s Fonts folder should list in all the Office 2007 apps too?

I searched various online forums but while people have reported this issue, no-one seems to have a solution. Of course, I now wonder how many other fonts listed in the system’s Fonts folder aren’t displaying either.

Does anyone know how to get that pesky ‘Arial Bold’, which is correctly installed and listed in Vista’s Fonts folder, listed in my Office 2007 application font lists?


[Links last checked August 2010]


  1. The only thing I could find was this comment on the Microsoft site (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/924623):

    Note The installation options that you select determine the specific fonts that are installed. All the available fonts are not installed when you perform a typical 2007 Office installation.

    Maybe try running the Word installer again?

  2. Thanks Hamish. While I can reinstall on my home computer, the work one is locked down for installing ANYTHING. Also, this seems to be company-wide, so I’d need to chat with someone in IT to see if it’s universal, if that solution works, and to see if they can roll it out across the company.

  3. […] in the resulting PDF ([2] in the screen shot). I’ve dealt with that issue in this blog post: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/default-vista-fonts-not-available-office-2007/ so I won’t discuss that further […]

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