The typeface of word-processed documents can reveal the author's personality, according to a new study commissioned by Lexmark.

Psychologist Aric Sigman discovered that font choice could divulge idiosyncrasies such as confidence, meanness, friendliness and attention seeking.

Sigman told the Daily Telegraph: "The choice of font serves as a form of social coding, classifying its users as, for example, garish and flamboyant, versus understated and refined."

The Governor The study delineates how Sir Edward George, Governor of the Bank of England, used the "nostalgic" courier font to ward off other's emotional demands, while Prince Charles shows more pathos, choosing the personable Helvetica.

Courier fonts are associated with tradition, and used frequently by older administrative staff, reflecting the bygone typewriter and carbon-paper era.

Users of sans serif styles (such as Ariel) are prim and proper, according to the study - although Helvetica boys and girls are a bit more daring. Solicitors favour Times New Roman as this demonstrates trustworthiness.

Look out for the "potentially nauseating" screams from the page of a Comic Sans font, and beware the over-familiarity of users of a handwriting font.