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I looked around but did not find that anyone has asked this before, but what are the fonts that are standard/recommended while writing academic reports/papers?

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No need to search for the perfect font. You just download the latex/word template that the journal / conference provides and you stick to it. – Alexandros Aug 7 '14 at 10:12
In my case there isn't a template, that is the problem. – Man Aug 7 '14 at 10:12
unless your a graphic designer, if theres no standard specified its safe to stick with times new roman – user1938107 Aug 7 '14 at 13:38
@O.R.Mapper yes very true, although I assume if the OP was looking for the standard font of every language in the world for academic publishing, we could close it as "too broad" – user1938107 Aug 7 '14 at 15:35
People stick with the Computer Modern default in LaTeX so much that I once had someone tell me a paper where I intentionally chose a different serif font "looked unprofessional." – Matt Reece Aug 7 '14 at 17:32
up vote 10 down vote accepted

If there's no template, then the choice is yours. However, you should make sure to pick a font that's easy to read. The usual standards in academia tend to be the Times, Helvetica/Arial, and Computer Modern families. This doesn't restrict you from using fonts like Book Antiqua, Myriad Pro, Goudy Old Style, or Garamond, but they're definitely not standard.

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As to Helvetica/Arial: I think conventional wisdom is that serif fonts are preferred for large bodies of text, while sans serif should be reserved for short chunks like labels, headings, etc. I've certainly never seen a published paper set entirely in Helvetica. Then again, in my field everyone uses LaTeX, so unless you make a special effort, everything comes out in Computer Modern. – Nate Eldredge Aug 7 '14 at 15:52
@NateEldredge: You are correct that serif fonts are easier to handle in large doses, but Helvetica is the "default" font for most "official" documents and reports throughout most of Europe. And this extends to preprints when not done in LaTeX. – aeismail Aug 7 '14 at 15:56
Eurghhhhhhhhhhh. – Nate Eldredge Aug 7 '14 at 16:14
@NateEldredge: This is not undisputed. @ aeismail: It’s rather Arial due that popular operating system (which does not make this any better; not because of serif vs. sans-serif, but because I do not want to see that font anymore to the extent that I tweaked my browser to auto-replace any resembling fonts). – Wrzlprmft Aug 8 '14 at 8:35
@Wrzlprmft: True, it is normally Arial that is specified; fortunately the differences are small enough that I use Helvetica and no one complains. (And actually I'm starting to see more references to Helvetica nowadays.) – aeismail Aug 8 '14 at 12:00

For an academic paper each publisher journal have their standards. These do not affect or are affected by the manuscripts sent in to the journal. Some journals specify fonts, commonly standard Times Roman, for their manuscripts. If the journal specifies something, follow that specification. Otherwise use a font that is easy to read. There is no need to use anything but a standard font for whatever typesetting/word processor system.

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As others have mentioned, the standard font varies, but is usually a serif font such as Times New Roman, although sans serif fonts such as Arial and Helvetica seem to be gaining traction as well. Their is major disagreement over which is easier to read--serif or sans serif fonts, with no clear consensus on the outcome. For example, see this paper.

Font size is typically twelve point. Follow the guidelines on this one, and make sure to keep your font consistent. Nothing is more likely to get you minus points than some obvious monkeying with the font size, whether to lengthen your manuscript (most commonly seen in undergrad papers) or to fit your text into the page limit (the rest of us!).

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