How To Prevent Fonts From Changing In Documents

I have recently started working with a new firm and as such, I am responsible for creating all new templates for everyone in the firm to use. This is a classic case of nobody knowing everything there is to know about Word. We all learn new things every day — even me!

So back to the templates– I created a letterhead template and I even password-protected the header where I put the firm name and address so that it could not be changed by accident.

So imagine my surprise when I opened up a letter that had been saved, only to find that the header had a weird-looking font! That certainly caused me to scratch my head! So I started noodling around with it trying to figure out what the deal was because the stranger thing was that if I opened the very same document the next day, the header had the correct font!  Curiouser and curiouser!

So, thus far, what I have deduced is that there are a couple of things at play here. Firstly, I had to check to be certain that everyone who was using this had dynamic style updating turned off. The reason is that this feature will cause changes to a style definition when someone applies a specific formatting change to something in the document. So, if the feature is turned on, and someone makes a change to an individual paragraph, the change is also applied to the underlying style which will affect every other paragraph in the document that uses that style.

Disable Dynamic Style Updating

Follow the steps below to learn how to turn off that feature:

  1. First, be sure the Home tab of your Ribbon has been selected.
  2. At the bottom right-hand side of your Styles group click the small icon that looks like an arrow.
  3. Alternatively, you can press ALT + CTRL + Shift + S to do the same thing.
  4. Hover your cursor over a style name in the Styles window. You should see a down arrow at the side of the style name.
  5. Click the arrow and select Modify, which will open the dialog box.


  1. Make sure the Automatically Update checkbox at the bottom is not selected.
  2. Click OK.


There is a caveat: The steps above will only affect a single style in your document. Word allows dynamic updating to be set on a style-by-style basis so you will need to go through every style in your document using the steps above.

Embedding TrueType Fonts

I also learned that your problem could be related to the template attached to your particular document. If your document uses the Normal template as mine did, and each user has a different Normal template, then this could affect the appearance of your document. So to rectify this, make sure your document uses a template other than the Normal template, or that everyone has the same Normal template as you.

Another reason for your problem can be fonts!  I had to check to see if all users had the same fonts as mine installed on their computer. If a document uses a font that is on my computer and that document is opened on a computer that does not have the same font, Word will simply substitute a different font in its place. This, of course, can affect the appearance of your document even when you open the document on your own computer that you created it on!

So, the workaround for this is to be certain that you have Word configured such that it will embed TrueType fonts within your document.

Follow the steps below to learn how:

  1. Click on File | Options.
  2. Click on Save at the left side.
  3. Near the bottom, make sure the Embed Fonts in the file option has been selected.
  4. To save space in your document, select the Do Not Embed Common System Fonts.
  5. Click OK.

So, I learned quite a bit and I am happy to pass it along to you! I hope the information helps you as much as it did me!

4 thoughts on “How To Prevent Fonts From Changing In Documents”

  1. I notice a similar issue in Excel (2016) where my font size changes and I have to resize the cell I just edited!?!

  2. I do see STYLES on the Ribbon but I do not see ‘the small icon that looks like an arrow’ nor does ‘ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+S’ do anything.

    1. Glad to hear that you see the Styles group in Word. If you look very closely at the lower right-hand corner of that group – right across from where it says Style, you will see a small arrow.

      As for the key combination it may not work on all computers because everyone has different key combinations for different things. My computer for instance uses that key combination for something entirely different in a program called Data Prompter.

      I hope this has been helpful to you Dan.

      1. Carol:
        Thanks for your reply.
        I was in Excel where STYLES appeared in the ribbon without the arrow. But you’re right, all you said was there in WORD so I apologize for my confusion.

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