Expert opinion needed

typokallos's picture

I can take my own guesses, but I am looking for an expert opinion on which font is closer (dimension wise only) to Myriad Web Pro: Verdana or Arial. I understand Verdana displays better on screen, but I need to put that aside and have a comparison strictly on the basis of metrics:

Is Verdana or Arial closer to Myriad Web Pro in terms of sizing?

Thank you

Thylacine's picture

Each of the following is the same point size. You be the judge.

Core0's picture

Note that points refer to a print font size and on screen it is relative to the total (invisible) box of the typeface. So the capital letters are not the same size, if you set a font in the “same point size”. Second, the x-height (which refers to the height from baseline to the top of letters like x, n, m, etc.) is optically defining the size of a set font. Third, the weight (stroke width) of the font and the counters have an influence on the impression of a size too.

If you are referring to the width of setting, neither one of the two Web fonts comes close to Myriad Web Pro. If you want to use Arial, you would have to set it a little smaller (if Myriad was 18 points, Arial would be maybe 17 or 16), to achieve the same size impression. With Verdana the case is even worse, because it has a much higher x-height.

Why don’t you use Myriad Web Pro for your website, since it was already designed for screen display?

typokallos's picture

Thank you both for the reply.

We need to use these fonts inside a Powerpoint presentation, and we cannot embed fonts (it doesn't work that well) for wide sharing of the presentation. Arial is the most present font across Mac and PC (averaging 98.13% presence between the two platforms), with Verdana (98.11%) a close second (source

Myriad Web Pro comes in question because the presentations are also turned into high definition videos, and this font is the most suitable for this medium.

Thylacine's picture

I've quickly coded a small web page using the fonts in question. The first group is specified in points, while the second is specified in pixels. The difference between the two groups is obvious, but what's relavant is that the apparent size difference between the fonts within the two groups stays the same.

This isn't PowerPoint, of course, but what I'm getting at is that specifying a size and applying that size to the three fonts in question will always result in Myriad Pro appearing smaller and taking up less space than Arial or, especially Verdana.

Now if you somehow manage to display the same type so that the lines take up the same horizontal space, you get the following where Myriad and Arial appear almost the same size:

If you display the three lines of type so that all the cap heights are the same you'll get this:

I'm not sure, but somewhere in all of this might be an answer, of sorts, to your question.

JamesM's picture

> we cannot embed fonts

They can't be embedded in the Mac version of PowerPoint, but can on a PC.

Another option is to prepare slides in another application such as Photoshop, and then place them as full-slide JPEGs. This has the advantage that you know that slide will project exactly as designed (unlike normal PowerPoint slides which are rendered on the fly and font substitutions, line breaks, shadow appearance, and other things can change depending on the computer used). If you're interested in this method I could offer some specific tips.

quadibloc's picture

Evidently, you need to use fonts that are present on 100% of PCs and on 100% of Macs.

I don't believe there are such fonts. However, you could just use free fonts, and have people who don't have those fonts download them in order to view your presentation.

While that would be cumbersome, since now most people viewing your presentation would have to download and install some fonts, that would solve the problem - everyone can view your presentation, despite you being unable to embed fonts (or character outlines) in it.

The alternative would be to use only images and no text in the presentation, with the text being put into the images when it is prepared. (As JamesM mentioned above.)

Of course, these alternatives are likely to be viewed as unacceptable; the other alternative would be to use a Windows computer to finalize the preparation of your presentation, since as noted in the thread, that would allow font embedding.

Oh - when the right font is missing, the text still displays, but with font substitution, which is why you were concerned about metrics. (Why you are asking about metrics similar to Myriad Web Pro, though, becomes obscure; neither of these systems is likely to substitute Myriad Web Pro for anything, if only because it's unlikely to be installed on their computers, and if you use Myriad Web Pro yourself, you don't control what those systems will substitute for it.)

In that case, if you use Arial, and the presentation is shown on a Mac without Arial, Helvetica - not Myriad Web Pro or Verdana - will be substituted. Times Roman will also find an adequate substitute on both systems.

JamesM's picture

> these alternatives are likely to be viewed as unacceptable

The three main disadvantages to using full-screen JPEGs are:

1) Larger file size -- May become too large to email, but there are file transfer services available (sometimes free) and the client just clicks a download link (, for example)

2) The client can't make changes themselves -- Might be a deal breaker. I've had clients who permitted some PPTs to be made that way but not others.

3) Tiny type is fuzzy -- But you shouldn't be using tiny type anyway. People in the back of the audience won't be able to read it.

In many cases saving slides as JPEGs works just fine. Most professional PowerPoints I've seen were made that way.

But I agree that embedding the font using a PC may be the easiest solution.

> if you use Arial [and it's not available]

Yes, this is a problem with PowerPoint, font substitution can take place. Arial is pretty safe, especially on PCs, but I always set text boxes to "resize text to fit shape" to play it safe. The results may not be pretty but at least type won't get cut off.

riccard0's picture

Export the slides to PDF.

Joshua Langman's picture


PowerPoint is not a document distribution medium. Fix the real problem here before you worry about the typography.

JamesM's picture

I agree that PowerPoint isn't a "document distribution medium", but that's not what the original poster appears to be doing, it's a slide presentation.

PDFs have some advantages, and are ideal for document distribution, but PowerPoint is widely used in the business world for presentations, and many conferences require that speakers submit their presentations as PowerPoints. And remember that Steve Jobs used Keynote (Apple's PowerPoint) when making presentations.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like PowerPoint very much, but it's widely used and I have made many for clients.

hrant's picture

I haven't read the whole thread but: you shouldn't use alphabet strings for comparison, but a string weighted by letter frequency.


Joshua Langman's picture

The OP mentioned "wide sharing of the presentation." Sharing a PPT "widely" and expecting it to work as intended is asking for trouble. Use the PPT file for the talk, but distribute it as a PDF.

JamesM's picture

I agree that sharing it can create font problems unless the fonts are embedded or it's prepared as a series of JPEGs. Distributing it as a PDF might require major re-working if it contains sounds, video, or (more likely) animations, plus it makes it non-editable for the client.

But still it might be worth asking the client if a PDF might be a better approach for distribution. I've actually done that on a number of occasions (unfortunately the answer is usually no).

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