Impact of font type in Excel numbers copied to Word or PowerPoint

When you use Excel, the primary purpose is for numbers but what most people don’t realise is the impact of font type in Excel numbers copied to Word or PowerPoint. Depending how you copy and paste it your numbers may not line up any more.

Most people will indirectly know of this issue where they have to add and delete spaces to try and make the numbers line up, but it is impossible to get it exactly right.

A simple way to see this is to combine words and numbers in a single cell in Excel making the number of characters exactly the same.

As shown below, if you use the Arial font, the numbers don’t seem to line up.

Impact of font type in reading numbers in Excel

However, if all you change is the font type to Courier New you see the following. Notice that it is much easier to read the numbers as they line up underneath each other.

Impact of font type in reading numbers in Excel

The reason for this is that some fonts (e.g. Arial) use a different amount of space depending on the letter or number size i.e. a 1 is smaller than a 0.

Other fonts, called monospaced or fixed width fonts (e.g. Courier New and Consolas)
use the same size for each character irrelevant of the size of the character.

So if for any reason you find yourself adding or deleting spaces but not getting characters to align properly, try change the font to Courier or Consolas!