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Fountain Pen Nib Sizes & Types - A Guide

Choosing the right fountain pen nib size can be difficult. If you have no idea where to start, or you are buying for somebody else then look at the size of the handwriting. Those with small handwriting will generally prefer a finer nib grade, while broader nib grades are generally more suited to larger handwriting. The following is a guideline of the different types of nibs available, and their best use case.

Standard Nibs

Standard nibs are normal fountain pen nibs, as you are probably used to, which come in all sorts of different sizes.

Extra Extra Fine Fountain Pen Nib

Extra Extra Fine

An extremely fine point for precise figure work. Not intended for general writing.

Extra Fine Fountain Pen Nib

Extra Fine

For fine line writing with a light touch.

Fine Fountain Pen Nib


Excellent for general writing and note taking. Moderate pressure produces a fine line.

Medium Fountain Pen Nib


For average writing pressure, average line width. General all-round use.

Broad Fountain Pen Nib


A heavier, rounded point for wide lines.

Extra Broad Fountain Pen Nib

Extra Broad

A large rounded point excellent for heavy lines and bold signatures.

Oblique Nibs

Oblique nibs are intended for those who slant the pen when they write and are precision ground at an angle on the tip of the writing point. A person holding the pen at an angle can get the same writing effect and smoothness of line as someone holding the pen straight.


Generally used by right handed writers.

Reverse Oblique

Generally used by left handed writers.

Italic & Calligraphy Nibs

An italic nib provides flair and line variation in handwriting, while maintaining a smooth writing experience. A calligraphy nib tends to have sharper corners which gives a crisper line and more variation in line width. Writing with a calligraphy nib tends to be slower as the nib needs to be held at the correct angle continuously in order to prevent skipping.

Straight italic nib

Cut straight across. Provides flair and line variation.

Calligraphy nib guide

This guide from Manuscript helps to show the difference in the most common calligraphy nibs.