How to Change Text Size in Word 2016

By Dan Gookin

Text size is set in your Word 2016 document based on the ancient typesetter measurement known as points. Here are some point pointers to keep in mind when formatting text in Word:

  • The bigger the point size, the larger the text.

  • Most printed text is either 10 or 12 points tall.

  • Headings are typically 14 to 24 points tall.

  • In Word, fonts can be sized from 1 point to 1,638 points. Point sizes smaller than 6 are generally too small for a human to read.

  • A 1-inch-high letter is roughly 72 points.

The point size of text is a measure from the bottom of the descender to the top of the ascender, such as from the bottom of the lowercase p to the top of the capital E. So the typical letter in a font is smaller than its given point size. In fact, depending on the font design, text formatted at the same size but with different fonts (typefaces) doesn’t appear to be the same size. It’s just one of those typesetting oddities that causes regular computer users to start binge drinking.

Setting the text size

To set the size of text you’re about to type, or text in a selected block, heed these steps:

  1. Click the Home tab.

  2. In the Font group, click the down arrow next to the Font Size box.

    A menu of font sizes appears, as shown in the center of this figure.

    Text sizes appear in a drop-down menu.

    Text sizes appear in a drop-down menu.
  3. Choose a font size.

    As you point the mouse pointer at various values, text in the document (an individual word or a selected block) changes to reflect the size. Click to set the size.

The Size menu lists only common text sizes. To set the text size to a specific value, type the value in the box. For example, to set the font size to 11.5, click in the Size box and type 11.5.

Nudging text size

Rare is the student who hasn’t fudged the length of a term paper by inching up the text size a notch or two. To accommodate those students, or anyone else trying to set text size visually, Word offers two command buttons in the Home tab’s Font group.

To increase the font size, click the Increase Font Size command button. The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+>.


The Increase Font Size command nudges the font size up to the next value as listed on the Size menu (refer to the preceding dialog box image). So if the text is 12 points, the command increases its size to 14 points.

To decrease the font size, click the Decrease Font Size command button. Its keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+<.


The Decrease Font Size command works in the opposite direction of the Increase Font Size command: It reduces text size to the next-lower value displayed on the Size menu.

To remember the text size keyboard shortcuts, think of the less-than and greater-than symbols. To make the text size greater than the current size, use the Ctrl+Shift+> shortcut. To make the text size less than its current size, use Ctrl+Shift+<.

To increase or decrease the font size by smaller increments, use these shortcut keys:

Ctrl+] Makes text one point size larger
Ctrl+[ Makes text one point size smaller