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Bold Type

(also just called "bold")

What Is Bold Type?

In type or printed writing, bold is a heavy kind of writing. The characters are thicker than normal, as you see in the diagram below.


  • This sentence is in normal style.
  • This sentence is in "bold" style.

When To Use Bold

We use bold for emphasis, when we want to make sure that our reader sees and takes in certain words. The main examples are:

  • Keywords, as in the example below. Another example would be a dictionary, where each headword is often in bold.

    "We will start by exploring the importance of preparation. After that, we will consider what equipment to use. Then we will look at successful delivery of a presentation."

  • Headings and sub-headings. In the example below, the heading "English Parts of Speech" is in bold. Other examples would be headings and sub-headings in an essay or book.

    heading in bold type

  • Newspaper headlines. In the example below, from The Times newspaper, the headline "Lehman collapse sends shockwave round world" is in bold. Note too that the name of the newspaper itself ("The Times") is also in bold, as is the sub-heading "Shares and oil prices plunge, thousands lose jobs".

    newspaper headline in bold type

  • Book covers, music album covers, advertisements, film posters and similar items. See examples below:

    Bold type is often used on film posters and book covers
It is better not to write entire paragraphs in bold. It is not easy to read a lot of words all together in bold (like this paragraph). So if you want readers to read your writing, better reserve bold for a few important words and phrases only.

Note that in handwriting and typewriting, emphasis can usually be shown with underlining.

Like italics, bold is not really possible in handwriting. Bold is used in "type", which is the kind of writing you usually see in books and newspapers and on a computer screen.

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