The family link under Windows – Font Technology

Where are the fonts in the menu?
The family link under Windows

Although individual font styles may be installed in the Windows operating system, they may not appear in the menu in Office programs. Instead, the menu displays only the superordinate family name. We’ll explain the reason for this.

Font files can contain additional information that tells the operating system which styles belong to a family. In this way, a program can recognize that there are different versions of the same font, and control them explicitly as such.

The small buttons for bold and italic in Microsoft Word are the most prominent example. If Windows recognizes a family link, these buttons refer to the styles for italic, bold and bold italic. If the link is missing, Word generates emergency solutions using automatic character skew or bold – a nightmare for any discerning typographer. In everyday office work, the family link ensures that the correct style, created by the font designer, is used.

Those who know the detailed font menu in layout programs, however, which displays all the individual fonts, are often confused when newly installed fonts are not visible in the menu. The family link can make the display of larger font families a little irritating: since the two buttons in Word can only control four styles, a family link has a maximum of four entries. The remaining styles, like light or extra bold, for example, show up individually in the menu.

The buttons labeled I and B in Word control the font selection within a family.

Although, as you can see in the file list, multiple styles are available, the menu includes those styles defined in the family link.