point size

Smaller on paper; bigger on screen

The point size of your text can be smaller than you think. The opti­mal point size for body text in printed doc­u­ments is 10–12 point.

While courts often require text to be set at 12 point—and some­times larger—it’s not the most com­fort­able size for read­ing. If you com­pare a court fil­ing with the aver­age book, news­pa­per, or mag­a­zine, you’ll notice that the text in the fil­ing is larger.

It’s very dif­fi­cult to find a pro­fes­sion­ally designed book, news­pa­per, or mag­a­zine with 12-point body text. One major rea­son is cost—big­ger point sizes require more paper.

But I can’t guar­an­tee 12 point will always look too big. That’s because the point-size sys­tem is not absolute—dif­fer­ent fonts set at the same point size won’t nec­es­sar­ily appear the same on the page.

That means you need to let your eyes be the judge. Don’t just rely on the point size.