Why does Microsoft's default font change from Calibri to Aptos bother some users?


Steph Luthien stared at her laptop screen. Something seemed strange that January morning, but at first she couldn't quite place it.

Then, the 25-year-old social media marketing coordinator in Chicago noticed a small detail that surprised her. The default font in her Word document was different, even though she didn't do anything to change it.

“I was like, 'Wow, I'm feeling overwhelmed by my computer,'” Luthien says. It happened out of nowhere. None of us really knew it was going to happen. And suddenly he was there.”

On January 12, Luthin participated in eight seconds video On TikTok he captures her confusion. At the time, she wasn't sure if anyone would relate to her experience. It was only when the post had millions of views, and the comments started pouring in, that she discovered she had struck a chord.

“I realized, 'Oh my God.' “I'm not the only one to whom this just happened,” Luthien says.

Calibri — long the default font in programs like Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — has been phased out after 17 years. And now the new line called Aptos is king. Change, Announced in July, was first available to Microsoft Insiders. Then, it started to spread more widely in December — for hundreds of millions of Microsoft 365 users around the world.

By reading the responses on TikTok, Luthien realized that many of them were amazed — and also surprisingly passionate about the lines.

“It was crazy and divisive, but it was also a lot of fun,” she says, describing the debates that raged in the comments. Some fanatics have even expressed their continued loyalty to Times New Roman, the default Calibri font that was phased out in 2007.

Are there major news events happening around the world? Yes. Would you say it's a bit ridiculous to get so worked up about changing the font? Yes. Do many of us do that anyway? Also, yes.

As interpolated He keeps bringing it up For a wider audience this month, a growing number of people like Luthin are sharing their reactions on social media.

some We are excited About transformation, while others… Don't take it well.

“It seems like some kind of sick joke,” Luthien said on her TikTok account. In the weeks that followed, though, she decided to continue working with Aptos despite her initial concerns about the switch. “I've now committed to the future,” she says with a laugh as we talk about our shared love of lines over Zoom.

It's not surprising to see such strong reactions to the change, says Thomas Finney, president of ATypI, an international association dedicated to typography.

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“It's like you walk into your room, and suddenly someone changes the paint color,” he says.

“And even though it may not technically matter much, it may affect how you feel about being in that room, or working on that document. It’s a subtle but pervasive thing.”

Image Illustration: CNN/Getty Images

Microsoft first announced plans to replace Calibri with Aptos in July. But the change has recently been implemented for more users.

Elle Cordova took a comedic approach to the drama she saw unfold. The writer, musician, and content creator imagined how different lines approach the news, and decided to capture each one of them in a video.

“Who are you and why are you in my chair?” says an angry Calibri.

“Oh, they didn't tell you,” Aptos says, shaking his head and pointing to the placeholder text common in the publication. “Lorem Ipsum, that's harsh. Well, I'm the new default font, your replacement.”

“I'm sorry, my replacement?” Calibri answers, as a silently judgmental Times New Roman looks on.

“I really wanted to capture what it would be like to have the default font reduced to a dropdown menu, because I think that's very relatable and funny,” Cordova told me in a Zoom interview.

Millions of people agreed. The video was first shared on January 29 on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, and has been viewed more than 14 million times and received more than 800,000 likes. It also got a grateful response in the comments from Steve Matteson, the designer behind Aptos, and A.J Last week's shout out on social media From Microsoft.

This was the second video in a series that Cordova called “Fonts hanging out.” The approach is a concept I've played with before. Previous videos from the creator have appeared on Siri and Alexa Talk to ChatGPT Various scientific disciplines discuss the upcoming giant moon in astrology The party crashes.

“I just had fun making these comedic sketches that fleshed out concepts, and through kind of fleshing out, extrapolating the conversation that's going on around those concepts right now,” she says.

Cordova says the lines were a natural fit, given how clearly people already understood their personalities. It just so happened that when she posted her first font video, Aptos was debuting on millions of screens.

“Some people really welcomed the change, but it was annoying for other people, and I thought it would make a really good skit,” she says.

Cordova says she's still receiving comments, direct messages, and emails about Aptos' change, nearly a month after she posted her video on the topic.

“It definitely seems to be on people's minds, and I have a feeling it will be for some time,” she says.

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Although this shift may have seemed surprising to some (myself included), it has been a long time coming.

Microsoft has for the first time publicly revealed its plans to ditch Calibri in 2021 Separation note Written, of course, in Microsoft Word.

The letter began with, “Dear Calibri, We loved the time we spent together. But we've moved on from this relationship.”

Company He said The advent of higher resolution displays was a big factor behind their search for a successor.

After weighing public comments on it Five finalists, officials announced last year that the Aptos Line, a line named after a small town in California, would become the new default line. In a sign of how far the change could go, the ad was addressed to “every human being on earth who ever wrote a text.”

Originally, the line was known as Bierstadt, but Microsoft says the name was changed to Aptos after a “change of guard” at the company.

Microsoft's 2021 announcement said that the font's original name was inspired by a mountain in Colorado, where designer Steve Matteson now lives. Microsoft says Matteson renamed the font Aptos “after his favorite single city of Santa Cruz, California, whose wide-ranging landscape and climate embody the font's diversity.”

Microsoft says Matteson created the font “with a slight human touch.”

“He wanted Aptos to have the universal appeal of the late NPR news anchor Carl Cassel and the witty tone of The Late Show host Stephen Colbert,” the company's 2023 announcement said.

Finney, president of the International Printing Society, describes the design as “very classic.”

“This style goes back strongly to the 1960s, when Helvetica first became the most popular font in the world for branding and almost everything else,” Feeney tells CNN.

Aptos wasn't Phinney's top choice on Microsoft's list of options, but he's grateful for the change. In addition to designing typefaces himself, he also uses his typography experience as a consultant to help detect fraud and counterfeiting. He says he has witnessed several instances in which Calibri was used in documents allegedly written before the font was released to the public In January 2007.

“So, I'm looking forward to that changing. Give it a year or two for people to forget about it, and I expect there will be an increase in cases resulting from this.”

What is Microsoft's response to the mixed reactions its new default font has inspired?

A Microsoft spokesperson acknowledged in a written statement — sent via email, at Aptos — that Calibri “remains a popular font overall.”

“Every line has a shelf life, and styles and preferences change over time,” the spokesperson said. “In addition, font technology continues to evolve, screen resolutions have increased, the OpenType font format has new capabilities, and the way we display type on screen has also changed, with the cross-platform experience becoming more important than ever.”

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Microsoft hasn't been shy about jumping into the fray as users share their reactions on social media. The company's official account was quick to respond to Luthin's TikTok, declaring in the comments that “Aptos has arrived.”

“with shine on com. emoji“,” Lutin points out — a flourish she says only enrages critics.

“People were responding directly to that comment and saying, ‘Undeliver it,’ or ‘Make it go away,’” Luthien says. “People were angry.”

“You know, you can still use Calibri,” attorney Joel Payne told me, laughing as I admitted in a phone call that Microsoft's change — which had recently plagued our company's computers — had thrown me for a loop.

I have yet to take the step of changing my default settings to restore Calibri to its former glory. I try to give Aptos a fair shake.

In fact, I contacted Payne, who is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, because he recently posted on LinkedIn about how much he liked the new virtual font.

Payne, 41, liked Aptos so much when he learned about it last year that he downloaded the font and made it his default font before Microsoft officially published the converter.

“I wrote an email in it, and it looks really cool,” he says.

Catherine Stockton, a 26-year-old doctoral student in Cambridge, England, had a similar impression.

“I was taking notes for my Ph.D. in Microsoft Word, and I was like, 'Huh, wait a minute, this looks nicer.' What's going on here?'”

From Microsoft

A graphic released by Microsoft detailing its new virtual font, Aptos.

For Stockton, who is also a poet and playwright, Microsoft's change was a welcome surprise.

“Aptos has gotten a little more fancy,” she says, adding that the default font would be an ideal choice for the text you write.

“These films have to be easy for the actor to read,” Stockton says.

Am I sold on Aptos? not yet. I admit I went into the drop down menu so I could write my first draft of this story in Calibri.

But as Vinny pointed out to me, no matter where you stand on Aptos, it's probably not worth worrying too much about. “There's a general knee-jerk reaction that people don't like change, but you know, they'll get used to it, and then we'll be upset in another 10 or 20 years the next time it happens,” Finney says. the changes.”

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