Your easiest bet is to use some of the fonts that Microsoft ships with
Windows. You'll need to try a few different fonts to see what works in your
setting. I'm not sure what application you will use or if you plan to paste
a chart from one application into another. PowerPoint does't layout text
quite the same as Excel nor do either of these do the same thing (exactly)
Verdana and Georgia were made to show how good onscreen reading fonts could
be. We did this in 1996 and since then not too many fonts have come close to
these in quality. However, one of the things that makes them readable is
their tall x-height and the characters are wide. You may find them readable
but too wide for your use...maybe not though, you should try them and see.
Tahoma was made to be an onscreen UI font, so it may work for you for labels
of your charts. It wasn't made for printing or long runs of text, so check
it out and see what you think.
MS Sans is a bitmap font. Microsoft Sans Serif is a TrueType (scalable)
version of this font. It has the same metrics and should look a bit better
onscreen due to the fact that hinting and ClearType work on it but not on
bitmap fonts. Also, most fonts have hinting turned off when the font is
rotated at increments other than 90 degrees -- it's a lot of work to hint
fonts for random angles and it's not as common as baselines in increments of
90 degrees. If you rotate the fonts at other than 90 degrees then the
quality of the outline and the design of the font itself will be the
determining factors in how good it looks.
Also, check out other fonts you like. You may be surprised at what you find.
I'm guessing the hinting we've done to our fonts to make them legible at
small sizes will lend themselves to your need.
David Glenn, Microsoft Typography
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
> Don't know whether anyone would care to comment on a font issue that I
> currently have:
> We need to present some graphs on-screen in as small a size as is
> practicable and readable. The graphs need to be titled, the axes and
> tick-marks labelled and so on. This would be in a Windows application
> and only on-screen appearance (ie not printed) is of any consequence.
> The question is about the best font to use for the labelling. The two
> priorities are compactness and legibility at relatively small point
> sizes. Obviously there are lots of candidates but my main question is
> to whether there is any point looking beyond the simple standard
> options like MS Sans Serif or Arial etc
> John Dann