I watched a video online where a lawyer explained that Courier is the font preferred by both court stenographers (and writers submitting manuscripts), and that it was also the font seen in stenography software even though often it is not necessarily to replicate a font digitally as the medium for printing and viewing should be optimized for the reader.

Is there any evidence that the current use of the font is based on tradition or convention rather than for maximum readability (or if it is even the actual preferred font)?

  • I'm not sure this belongs on this exchange instead of law.stackexchange.com but I dont know that it belongs there either. You also asked two different questions the title asks why its preferred in the legal industry, the bottom just asks a generic question. Not to mention I did a quick search and found no evidence to support whatever video you watched..
    – Ryan
    Sep 1, 2019 at 3:13
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    It's definitely still the font movie/TV scripts use & the layout is very traditional, even though it's now all done on computers. Sample link to no particular favourite - screenplayhowto.com/screenplay-blog/screenplay-software/… Images at the top… all scripts look like this. I can't speak for the legal industry, except I can't ever recall dealing with any legal documentation as a regular joe client that still looked like that.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 1, 2019 at 9:35
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    @Ryan I wasn't sure which was the right forum to ask the question (being a moderator on another StackExchange site I am conscious about this fact). The title is the context for the question and the additional question is to try and ask for some supporting evidence (because I couldn't find any either) hence the two different questions. I didn't want to cite the YouTube video I saw which mentioned this as I didn't think it would really help. Sep 1, 2019 at 23:27

1 Answer 1


It is a monospaced font, and these are preferred because it is easier to see if something is added or not to a document.

For example, imagine that this document involves a number 1000 if space is not perfectly defined you could add a 1, 10001 and this is a totally different number.

Sometimes these documents are even filled with slashes----------------- so no text can be added after a period. (Like this one)

Among monospaced fonts, Courrier is the most common, it resembles the typical font used in typewriter machines.

  • There are lots of clean monospaced fonts that have been designed for digital applications which the same benefits, so why is Courier still preferred? Sep 1, 2019 at 23:28
  • @MichaelLai Do any of these other ones come with your OS? Anyway, Lawyers are more concerned with the contents and not what it looks like. Good thing too.
    – joojaa
    Sep 2, 2019 at 5:06
  • @joojaa I use PCs and Courier is included but I think it has been replaced by Arial or Segoe UI as the default font. Not sure about Android or MacOS. Sep 3, 2019 at 0:42
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    This seems to make sense but I'd really like if you could add a reference to back up the claim
    – curious
    Sep 3, 2019 at 2:13
  • @MichaelLai thats the point courier is monospaced neither arial or segoe Ui is monospaced.
    – joojaa
    Sep 3, 2019 at 5:12

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