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Well it depends on the output format. I've tended to use verdana for CHM files although I know there are those who swear this has its problems. For websites I've tended to use Arial but Microsoft Sans Sarif for some headings just to be different. Actually I think something equally important is to use fontsets so you can control the font used if a user does not have a font installed. Probably wouldn't need to for Arial or Verdana though!
Personally, I prefer verdana.
Why not relax. As its a new help project, create a test project with one or two topics, then play around with the fonts. Check each font using preview. What looks best to you will probably be fine.
Have fun. Wish I was starting a new one. Updating all projects at the moment.
Thanks Colum - I agree about font sets - only discovered them a few weeks ago but then as you say, it wouldn't have mattered anyway as I've always used Arial.
Brian - great minds think alike - that's exactly what I've been doing this afternoon! Yes, very excited about new project - it has been needed for a while and it's always nice starting afresh.
This is all extremely useful - this job can be a bit lonely at times
I suppose I should take my comment back about Arial as it is possible that a user could uninstall the arial font if they really want to! Glad to speak to a fellow author. Am going through a similar process for a new UI we are releasing in webhelp. Having great fun!
Yes, I use font sets now anyway just in case - can't be too careful!
You might want to consider your audience. A study done awhile back found that older people, having grown up reading newspapers and magazines, find serif fonts like Times New Roman easier to read. The younger set, more accustomed to reading online, prefers what they see there, which is mainly sans serif, like Arial.
A readability study suggests that, if your headlines and subheads are serif, than the text body should be sans serif, and vice versa.
~ JM ~