Type makers are always in search of useful/interesting/funny/odd words for testing new designs. The right test documents are invaluable to the process – helping to make timely decisions, find problems, and anticipate usage scenarios for their fonts.
Over the years, I’ve collected and curated some rather extensive lists of words to use in testing documents. I don’t really use all of these all of these as is, but I do take excerpts from them during various stages of the design process.
There are several files attached below for you to download and freely use as you wish. They are all as plain text documents, so it’s easy to reformat them as necessary.
Download tip: Right click the links and save the .txt files to your computer. Otherwise they will open in the browser and you’ll have to ‘save-as’ or copy paste it directly. Also a couple of the files may display oddly in your browser, but should look better in a text editor.
1) Tons of TV Shows
This is the first of these sorts of documents I made while at Reading in 2006. It’s useful to test most combinations of upper and lower case letters (with a bit of numbers and punctuation thrown in) and bring a bit of nostalgia to American designers.
I’ve attached two versions for all your sample text needs. The ‘Prime Time’ list is shorter; it is basically my original version. It can mostly fit on an A4/Letter sized test sheet when your type is about 13-14 point.
The ‘All Time’ list contains 4,486 tv shows covering much of the history of television. It’s almost exclusively American/English shows, so there are of course thousands of others still missing… but this is a start.
→ ‘Prime Time’ TV Shows (short list)
→ ‘All Time’ TV Shows (full list)
2) Crayola Colors
This is one of my favorite wikipedia entries. It’s simply a list of every Crayola color. Ever. There are some surprisingly entertaining names in there.
3) Unusual Letter Combinations
This list was compiled from many random places over the years; but most of the examples came from a few different Typophile posts. #1 & #2. The formatting of lower case, mixed, and upper case for each word helpfully shows many exceptional combinations at once.
(This file is tab-spaced for extra-easy reformatting. Try editing in a spread sheet.)
4) Random Code
I made this a long time ago, but I don’t remember exactly why. Even though I’ve only actually used it a few times, it’s fairly interesting to find some insane combinations in the gapless texture of letters and symbols.
5) 140,000+ Words
These words were extracted directly from a database in OSX. It’s was then merged with some other huge word list found somewhere online… I forget the exact source, but there are numerous similar word lists around out there. Duplicates were removed, but there are still many relative duplicates, like: swimming & swimmingly. However, most pure plural forms have been removed: i.e. aardvark & aardvarks.
→ Tons O’ Words List (Plain Text File 1.4 mb)
→ Words divided by letter & sorted by character count (Apple Numbers Spreadsheet 3.7mb)
6) *All* Letter Combinations
I use this type of test more than any others here. It’s incredibly helpful with spacing and finding problems with weights and widths. The basics are included here, but this format can be used in all sorts of other ways. *All* as in A-Z. You may want to include more letters from your local language.
7) Online Font Tester
This is the latest testing tool in my collection. It’s a customized version (ongoing) of Pablo Impallari’s “Drag and Drop Font Testing Page”. This page let’s you quickly and easily see your fonts in the browser. All the text is user customizable to show any special words or characters. The best part is that it’s fast and secure… Your fonts aren’t uploaded anywhere, they stay locally on your computer, so it’s totally private. Any suggestions for changes or improvements to this page are welcomed.