Illustration: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic

Google added in August 2019 a new font called Lexend for people to use in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Lexend will be of interest to anyone who wants to increase reading proficiency; the font also may be helpful for people who spend a significant amount of time reading on screens. In the US, people spend a lot of time looking at screens; Pew Research Center reported that “36% of adults with a college education or more go online almost constantly.”

Dr. Bonnie Shaver-Troup and Thomas Jockin designed the Lexend fonts for G Suite with the Google Fonts team. The research identified three typographic factors that affect reading fluency:

  • Hyper expansion of character spacing

  • Expanded font-outline shapes

  • Sans-serif font to reduce noise.

SEE: Google Sheets: Tips every user should master (TechRepublic)

Google added not one, but seven Lexend fonts, with varied widths and spacings–these options allow each person to select the font they find easiest to read. In G Suite, the width and spacing of each Lexend font increase in alphabetical sequence: Deca, Exa, Giga, Mega, Peta, Tera, Zetta (Figure A). Text in Lexend Exa will be wider than Lexend Deca, for example, while Lexend Zetta will be widest of all.

Figure A

In Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, there are seven Lexend fonts you may install and use. Each font offers a different width and spacing.

For comparison, Lexend Deca produces text wider than several other highly readable sans serif fonts, such as Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, and Verdana. Lexend Deca is noticeably wider than both Andika, a font designed for new readers, and Roboto, a font found on many Android devices (Figure B).

Figure B

Lexend Deca, the narrowest Lexend font in G Suite, offers greater width and spacing than many other commonly used fonts.

If you use Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, you may add any or all of the seven Lexend fonts.

How to add the Lexend font in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides in Chrome

The following sequence works in both Google Docs and Google Sheets. In Google Slides, the cursor needs to be active in a text field (click inside any text box as you edit a Slide) before you can follow these instructions.

1. Open a Google Doc in Chrome on a desktop/laptop.
2. Select font menu (the down-pointing triangle to the right of the displayed font name).
3. Select More Fonts at the top of the menu options listed (Figure C).

Figure C

Select More Fonts from the font drop-down menu.

4. Enter “Lexend” in the search box .
5. Click or tap each font you want available as an option (Figure D).

Figure D

Search for “Lexend” and click on or tap each font you want to add.

6. Select OK when done.
7. You now may select the font menu and choose an added font (Figure E).

Figure E

Select any of the Lexend fonts added from the drop-down font menu in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

After you’ve added a font in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides on the web, the font will be available to you in the other applications. For example, after you add Lexend Deca in Google Docs, you may use the font in Sheets or Slides as well.

SEE: G Suite: Tips and tricks for business professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What is your experience with the Lexend font in G Suite?

If you’ve tried Lexend, which of the seven font widths in G Suite do you prefer? If you find a different font that is easier to read, which font and why? Let me know what you think–either in the comments, or on Twitter (@awolber).