Best font for a printed formal letter in Word 2013 (or LaTeX)

Slazer's picture

Hello! I am looking for the best font to write a printed formal letter to a respectable doctor (a professor) I have never ever written to. It must leave a good impression since he is very bussy and would surely dismiss a poorly written letter. I have the letter written in Word 2013 (Calibri). I can rewrite it in LaTeX (probably using LyX) if necessary. I prefer free fonts but I am willing to pay for a good font if necessary. Thanks for help.

riccard0's picture

Palatino, bundled with Word.

Jean Louis's picture

If your "respectable doctor" is worth his salt, he certainly will value the content of your letter above the chosen font. That is, as long as you keep your choice professional and understated. Put your effort in a well-written and concise letter, instead of spending money on a font.

If he has a personal assistant, call her to verify the smartest way to get your message across. Often it is the assistant who does the reading anyway, and then shares the information if it is relevant enough.

Good luck,

Slazer's picture

Well, I am basically asking him for a favour. I have put a lot of effort in the content, logical structure and grammar. I just need to improve the look. I have decided to definitely use LaTeX instead of Word for the obvious reason. It was created for printed documents anyway.

Thanks for mentioning the personal assistant - I did not thing of that. Good point!

riccard0's picture

Personally, as much a I don’t particularly like Word, I think using LaTeX for a letter is a bit overkill.
Of course, it’s a matter of using the tool you know better how to handle in order to obtain the desired output.
(that’s why I often end up using InDesign for some of my letters ;)

Michel Boyer's picture

I use LaTeX for my letters; the letter class works fine. To get palatino, you put in the preamble \usepackage{palatino} or \usepackage{mathpazo} if you have mathematical formulas. The class also works fine with XeLaTeX, which allows you to use opentype and truetype fonts.

Thylacine's picture

Slazer, I think you're overthinking this. I'm not a fan of Word, but in this case, Word would be fine. There's no need for LaTex when all you're composing is a single letter.

Use a nice, cotton paper stock paired with a conservative serif typeface and just make it look professional. If this professor is like most professors I know, your carefully chosen type won't even be noticed, and the reply will be scribbled back to you on a Post-It note or in an email typed out in Comic Sans. ;-)

JamesM's picture

> I am basically asking him for a favor.

You might consider a hand-written letter. Much more personal and attention-getting (he probably gets many typeset letters every day).

Use a good-quality paper and a fountain pen, write legibly, and hand-address the envelope too.

Jean Louis's picture

A hand-written letter, as JamesM suggested, always scores. But I would call his assistant anyway.

Slazer's picture

Thats a good point, but my handwriting is just terrible and I will not let anyone else write it.

Jean Louis's picture

Ok, then stick to Thylacine's advice: Quality paper/envelope and a clean classic serif. I assume you know how to fold a letter correctly, right? Plus, if you write the addresses on the envelope by hand, make sure they are legible :-)

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