Manuscript Preparation

Q. What is the recommended font style to use for manuscripts, books, etc., to make it easier for the reader?

A. For most of the twentieth century, typewriters ensured that manuscripts were typically prepared in a fixed-width typeface resembling, for example, Courier New. (A typeface is a collection of all the characters—letters, numbers, etc.—and styles—roman, italic, boldface, etc.—of a given design of type like Courier New or Caslon; such typefaces are, however, often spoken of as fonts.) Lots of people became used to reading such typewritten manuscripts. As word processors and computer-generated printouts began to take over, it became possible to use proportional typefaces like Times New Roman. Today, many word processors can produce type that approaches the quality of published materials, and fonts like Times New Roman have become dominant. But because some people still prefer a typewriter-style font, it’s best to ask your publisher. Whatever you choose, avoid overly stylized fonts, and, if possible, stick to one typeface.