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How To Use Italics Effectively


italics text examples

The italics version of a typeface is not just a slanted roman version.

The italics version of a normal roman (upright) typeface has characters designed specifically to slant to the right. Use italics to create subtle emphasis and to set apart certain names and titles. Italic fonts can also be used to add creative contrast, such as for pull-quotes or initial caps.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: As long as it takes to set type in italics

Here's How:

  1. Emphasize with italics.
    Use italics to emphasize small amounts of text within a block of text. Avoid long passages in italics. It is harder to read than normal roman faces.

  2. Put titles of print publications in italics.
    Italicize the titles of books, magazines, and newspapers such as The Great Gatsby, Home Office Computing, or the Austin American-Statesman.

  3. Put visual art titles in italics.
    Use italics for movie titles (The Sixth Sense or Gone with the Wind) and the titles of works of art such as the Mona Lisa.

  4. Italicize proper names of ships and trains.
    Use italics for the names of ships or trains such as the Titantic  or the Orient Express.

  5. Set apart foreign phrases with italics.
    When they are not a common part of your language, italicize foreign words and phrases.

  6. Use true italics, not fake italics.
    Avoid using the italics formatting code in your software. It often produces a fake italics by simply slanting the roman version of the font. Typefaces designed specifically as italics are better-looking and easier to read.


  1. Sometimes you have to fake it.
    If the italics version of a font doesn't appear in your font list after it is installed (common in Windows), then go ahead and use the italics style option — the software should find and use the italics version. When printing to your desktop printer, using fake italics can be acceptable.

What You Need

  • Italic Typefaces

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