Microsoft will replace its default Calibri font with Aptos, a new Swiss-inspired sans-serif typeface. Microsoft has spent the past few years searching for its new Aptos default font, formerly known as Bierstadt. In 2021, the software giant commissioned five new custom fonts for Office, and Aptos was selected as the default after years of user feedback.
Si Daniels, a principal program manager at Microsoft clarifies in a blog post –
“Today we begin the final phase of this major change where Aptos will start appearing as the new default font across Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and Excel for hundreds of millions of users.”
“And, over the next few months it will roll out to be the default for all our customers.”
Aptos was created by renowned type designer Steve Matteson. Matteson previously designed Segoe, which Microsoft licensed to be the default font for Windows. Microsoft’s use of the Segoe UI font subfamily began with Windows Vista and continues with Windows 11. Matteson also contributed to the development of the original TrueType core typefaces for Windows. Bierstadt has been renamed Aptos after Matteson’s favored Santa Cruz, California unincorporated community.
The stroke extremities of Aptos are very clearly cut off, but there is a subtle softening to avoid the rigid grid-based typography typically associated with this font. Helvetica is the most well-known example of this form of “grotesque san-serif” font, and Matteson has also contrasted Microsoft’s Arial font in this passage.
While Aptos will replace Calibri as the default font, Calibri will remain pre-pinned at the top of a new font interface (available initially only on the web) along with Times New Roman and Arial.
Do you know that, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), an all-time high number of high school graduates are enrolling in computing programs? Clare Marchant, the chief executive officer of UCAS, stated that this year’s application data revealed that 18-year-olds were more motivated to study computing due to the rise of digital and artificial intelligence:
Calibri has been the default Office font since the Office 2007 release when it replaced Times New Roman. Calibri is so extensively used that in 2017 it was a crucial piece of evidence in a corruption investigation involving the prime minister of Pakistan. However, not everyone has been using Calibri for years.
Earlier this year, the US State Department instructed its employees to use Calibri for memos. Since 2004, the State Department has used Times New Roman instead. Given that it took them 16 years to switch to Calibri, they will likely delay at least another decade before switching to Aptos.
The other four typefaces that were not chosen as the default are Grandview, Seaford, Skeena, and Tenorite. Bierstadt will remain in the font drop-down menu for those who are already familiar with it.
Daniels explains –
“Aptos is a part of a broader wave of features coming to Microsoft 365. We’re pushing to make the software more expressive and inclusive.”
“There’s a newly designed font picker experience, along with new themes, colors, and backgrounds.”
In the ever-evolving world of typography, Microsoft’s introduction of Aptos as the new default font for Office 365 marks an exciting shift in design aesthetics. With its fresh and modern appeal, Aptos brings a new visual language to the Office suite, enhancing the overall user experience.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this font update. Are you excited about Aptos? How do you think it will impact your Office 365 workflows? Share your opinions and reactions in the comments section below.
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