I had to fill in a few forms today. The good thing was, while the forms came in a Microsoft Word format, I had Microsoft Office to open them up with. Unfortunately, when I opened up the forms, they looked very different from what they were supposed to look as the formatting was all out of place. The problem turned out to be because the font used was missing from my system.
First thing I did was to look around for the font. Turns out that the “Sabon” font is a proprietary font. I would need to pay about US$30 for the privilege of downloading the font. That was just plain crazy. So, I tried replacing the font with an equivalent Serif font but it still wouldn’t format correctly. I even tried shrinking the size so that the form wouldn’t spill over onto the next page but to no avail.
Finally, I had to download the PDF version of the forms, print them out, fill them up by hand, and scan the forms back into the computer before emailing them in. How silly is that? Unfortunately, they don’t have PDF form versions. Otherwise, I would have used that from the start.
What this episode taught me was that there were little ways in which Microsoft Office documents would bite us. Even on Windows, there would be formatting issues. This has always been the only warning that I gave my friends about OpenOffice – formatting issues. Turns out that the formatting issues were probably due to the use of proprietary fonts too.
People should just stick with open-source fonts. There are quite a number of them around and they look good! [like the one pictured]