What is the best looking font for Access reports.

I recently was told that a competitor's software's reports looked better than mine. I generally use MS Sans Serif. It's not pretty

Any ideas?

(This could be the weirdest question ever asked of this site).
Derek BrownMDAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

I read years ago that users like Tahoma.
And that's what all my forms use.
Reports use Tahoma unless I need Roman numerals, and then I use Times New Roman.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
Be careful. Fonts for reports should be rather neutral.

Tahoma is good when space is limited, else Trebuchet MS.
If you wish to be at the edge, use the font of Metro/Modern: Segoe UI. Very light and beautiful on its own. Very well suited in large size for headings.

Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
I use Arial for everything except in MS Word, (then I use times new roman only)

Arial is clear, easy to read, predictable, and has been installed in every system since win 95.
...It is even available for Apple products.

The newer fonts may not work in older systems.
And some printers may have trouble rendering them.

But you will have to clearly define an ambiguous term like: "best looking".
Can you post a specific graphical example of your report and the "better looking" report.

A font need only be "readable" IMHO.
Some people think Comic Sans looks good, ...others despise it.

If your font is too radical, then your reports start to look silly and comical.
Then same is true if you use too many different fonts in our report.

I use the same font, but I will use size, bold and italic to differentiate between them in different report groupings.

At the simpler end, ...are you creating your reports from scratch?
I only ask because the Report wizard in Access creates fairly good looking reports right out of the box.

Determine the Perfect Price for Your IT Services

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden with our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Download your free eBook now!

Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
For comparison, ...note that almost all common "Sans Serif" fonts look the same...

Can you look at all the fonts mentioned here and tell which is "better looking?"
Where's the Comic Sans?sampleIt's funny how different they all look in Word, compared to the paste into MS Paint
Same order.
Times New Roman and Comic Sans added.
Verdana and Lucida are also nice fonts.

Helvetica is a gold standard -- but requires purchase.
MS's corporate logo is in Helvetica.
Arial is MS's version of it.

Had MS not named it 'Comic' would snobbery hate it so?
I've known more than a few users and businesses that made it a default font.
DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
Totally subjective question. Ask 20 people, get 21 answers.
Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
The screenshot I took was from a word document...

My point was that pretty much all "sans serif" fonts look pretty much the same...

So similar, in fact,  that I would never say that one looks any better than another...

So I am curious if the OP will post a sample of their report and the "better looking" report...

Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
<<Totally subjective question. Ask 20 people, get 21 answers. >>

Absolutely!  +1

Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
I'm not so sure. Most people wouldn't know.

But most people can see the difference between a "neat" report and an "ugly" report. That's why graphic artists can earn a lot of money.

Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
hum...well I've been on the subjective end too much I guess<g>.

In fact I once hired a professional artist to do my business cards.  He  added a black bar at the bottom "for balance".  In my eyes (and everyone I showed it to), it looked totally ugly.

But I do agree to an extent with your point.   There's been considerable study about how people determine beauty or handsomeness.   Most can't state in words what the criteria is that they use, but they know the difference and all can agree for the most part (and FYI, the studies have shown that it's basically left/right symmetry in a face and the proportions of the features).

Totally subjective question. Ask 20 people, get 21 answers.
And yet, by looking at those 21 answers, you've got some data to work with.
a competitor's software's reports looked better than mine.

There are some things, that although they are subjective, do tend to be universal.
I don't think anyone believes that mix-and-match fonting is a good idea.
Two fonts, maybe three at most.  A switch in fonts should signal something.
With my stuff, the 'letterhead' stuff is Times New Roman because our third-party branding stuff is in a serif fort.
The body of the reports is generally Tahoma.
Font size should signal something -- along with whitespace.  I use VBA to mess with font sizing to ensure that a header never wraps, but remains on a single line.

Access drives stuff vertically down the page.
I don't fight that, but ensure that I don't try to organize in columns. except if I can fully populate them, every time, and evenly across the full width of the page.
I have a footer with some color and it fits with the 'letterhead', so when the report is sparse it doesn't leave the 'whole' page looking blank.  Try to have your content consume the entire page.  Patches of content interspersed with whitespace look sloppy and the content doesn't jump off the page.  Be consistent.  Develop a flexible 'style' for your app and then stick with it.

Color schemes are important.  You can generate quite pleasing ones based off a main color here.
Color is expensive.  Don't go hog-wild with it.
Emphasize and frame, don't paint.  What looks good on screen may not on paper.
Paper is meant to be content-on-white-background.  The screen is not

Font-size and font-weight changes should signal things, too.
I'm getting old.  I never did use much 8pt font.  10pt minimum for screen.  12pt for printing if there's space for it.
I don't use anything above 24pt.  It's content, not advertising.

Symmetry.  We are programmed to find symmetry beautiful.

That's my two opinions, anyway.

Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
I think Gustav Jim and Nick have hit the nail on the head...
My guess is that some aspect of the report's over all "design" is what makes another report "look better", ...not really just the Font.

You can disregard my posts for any points considerations...
...as other experts have actually provided valid answers here.

Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
An important detail not to forget if you do reports for accounting or financials is, if the font has monospaced digits:


Many have, but then they may not if printed bold:


This is not the case here.

DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
In that case I use Courier New
Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
That's a choice, but it looks very old-fashioned to many, and it eats a lot of space due to the wide characters.

Derek BrownMDAuthor Commented:
That was a lot more than I expected

Thank you all!
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Microsoft Access

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.