Today Google has announced that Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have access to a small pile of new “Lexend” family of fonts meant to make reading a bit easier. Based on a bit of research which claims that character size, spacing, and stretch can enhance understanding if customized to reading speed, the new fonts come in eight different widths from “Zetta” to “Deca.”
Google says it teamed up with typographic designer Thomas Jockin to make the new fonts, with preliminary research already showing improvements in classroom use. There is one snag, though: The fonts work best when tailored to your specific reading speed, and although the font’s site talks about a “fluency test” for choosing your ideal size, it doesn’t seem to exist right now.
For more information about the font’s goals, there’s a great interview with the creator published over at Medium — though the project currently lacks a bit when it comes to studies specific to the new font, other research in typography indicates its changes should be beneficial for those with reading fluency problems.
Adding the new fonts to your library is as easy as perusing the font picker (from the menu bar: Font -> More fonts), searching for “Lexend,” and selecting the ones you dig.
The fonts might not be useful for everyone, but if you can pin down your boss’ reading speed, you might have a better chance of making sure he actually reads some of those reports you spend so much time on.