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I'm drawing up specs for some new sites to be built with text headings instead of graphics, and I wondering what fonts most site visitors are likely to have. "Most" probably indicates Windows 95 et seq, but I'd like to include Macs too.
In the default font sets of all operating systems in popular use, what are the font families I can count on everybody having? Or is it still just Times, Helvetica, and Courier? :(
we had some discussion on this a while ago, something I want to get back to when I can. The main fonts still seem to be Times and Arial, but there are also a few variations you can use. I seem to stick mainly to Tahoma or Verdana for PC and Geneva for Mac but that is just personal preference.
Here are some threads with more detailed info:-
hope this helps,
Yes indeed... but it's not just the browsers and the platforms. It's also about what fonts people have installed on their systems. I have a lot of fonts that would look great on websites, and my designers have even more, but I can't assume that most site users will have them too. That's why I'm looking for the default lists.
But if you're not targeting your site in that way, keeping a list of which fonts are installed on both platforms/all systems would give you the safest display. And probably be a dismally short list to boot...
(If anyone wants to take the time to compile such a list, I'd love to see it! ;) )
I generally stick to Arial/Verdana/Helvetica and Times/Times New Roman and Courier. Sad but true... or, you could build your whole site as a series of inter-linked PDFs! (LOL)
Here's a list of other OS's I'd like to have info on:
Red Hat Linux (Win)
Red Hat Linux (Mac)
other popular *nix installs
Mac OS 7.5
Mac OS 8
Mac OS 9
Mac OS X
I should be able to dig up the Mac info.
Me too. Any easy ways to get the original font info off the system CD-ROM? I realize I can also sort my Windows\fonts directory by date, but the abbreviations for the font names aren't always easy to figure out.
It occurs on newer OSs, like ME, the easiest way might be to check on a demo machine in a computer store.
Also, the lists we come up with are going to be way overkill... and similar fonts are going to have different names on different systems.
What's the best way to approach this without coming up with hundreds of names that don't really tell us anything?
Any easy ways to get the original font info off the system CD-ROM?
You could install the system software onto a blank Zip disk... then look at the fonts folder. That's what I might do...
Edited by: mivox
I've just checked an Installation of SuSE 7.0 (clean, eval install) and theres 1060 files that appear to be fonts (I think some are international). I think the whole linux thing is complicated but netscape shows the following as (variable width)font options:
New Century Schoolbook
Yes, that's what I'm looking for too....
>>If similar fonts have different names, they're not really the same font... but could be used as 'specified alternate' fonts for folks who don't have the primary default font installed... did that make any sense?<<
It makes sense, but I'm not sure I fully agree. Anything that's cross platform is going to have to specify alternate fonts... otherwise we're just looking at Windows... so I think we have to find font families where there are close similarities, and assume that there will be specified alternatives. The trick will be to find the ones that are really close, essentially the same face.
I'm not even sure that Times Roman carries the same name across platforms. Courier has different names, and so do Helvetica and Univers. It's the way these guys get around paying royalties....
Not true. Macintosh computers don't come with strange 'off-brand' variants on most common fonts... actually, the default windows fonts look very similar to what I've seen on most of my Macs, with the exception of Verdana.
I've have Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial, Courier, Courier New, New Century Schoolbook and all the Lucida variants on most of my Macintosh computers. I'm not sure which were system install defaults, and which came with my software, but I don't have any Microsoft software installed at home, so it's not even a Microsoft thing...
I'm sure, by the way, that Macs have better default fonts than PC... and in general probably still have some better fonts available, though maybe Windows has caught up. On the other hand, do you have "Hollyweird LET"? :) (in my font manager, it sits uninstalled but standing by).
The question, I think, is what do we have that goes beyond the Courier, Times, and Helvetica families that have cross-platform equivalents among the default fonts?
And a friend of mine pointed this out: Macs all come with IE installed from the factory now, so mac users will have some of the Windows defaults installed on their machines too. Although I've never heard of Univers...
So what were your default fonts for Win 95?
On the default font list, though, which is what we're talking about, not all systems have, say, "Helvetica." Windows is using another font, by a different name, that looks pretty much the same.
So, what default font families can we find across platforms that have these equivalents, and what are the names for these equivalent fonts on each system?
As an example of how bad the algorithm is, in Windows 3.1, there was a screen font only (not TrueType) called "System". If you created an Access form using System and tried to print it on a PostScript printer, you ran into problems. PostScript has something like 14 pre-installed fonts. Windows tried to map System to one of the 14 fonts and failed to find a close match. So it arbitrarily picked the last one. Unfortunately, that happened to be Zapf Dingbats. So some form that was perfectly readable on the screen came out looking like it was swearing at you when printed.
Now that should not be a problem with modern browsers using CSS since you should be able to set a family of fonts to pick from, and if the first one doesn't match it should try the additional fonts until it finds one that is actually installed. The font-matching, however, is done simply by comparing the name of the font asked for to the font installed on the system. If the font with the same name installed on the end-user's machine has different metrics than the font on the web designer's system, you could wind up with a very weird looking page. Metrics are the measure of the width/height/leading/kerning/etc. of the font.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
Edited by: Xoc
Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
Arial Black, Arial, Helvetica
Arial Rounded MT Bold, Arial, Helvetica
Book Antiqua, Times New Roman, Times
Bookman Old Style, Times New Roman, Times
Brush Script MT, Arial, Helvetica
Century Gothic, Arial, Helvetica
Century Schoolbook, Times New Roman, Times
Comic Sans MS, Arial, Helvetica
Garamond, Times New Roman, Times
Haettenschweiler, Arial, Helvetica
Impact, Arial, Helvetica
Tahoma, Arial, Helvetica
Times New Roman, Times
Trebuchet MS, Arial, Helvetica
Verdana, Arial, Helvetica
Some of these fonts I've never heard of... but the one's I do know certainly look like they match up pretty well. Apple installs a much larger font base than Windows, but the list of fonts from one system to the next is very inconsistent.
However, (like I mentioned) since all new Macs come with IE installed, they will also include the 'core' MS fonts installed from the factory... even if the end user throws away IE, I've never heard of anyone purging their fonts folder of the accompanying fonts. Many older macs will also have at least one MS program on them... Word, IE, etc., or at least one graphics program (which often include a full complement of 'standard' fonts).
But as long as your font tag or CSS declaration includes the term 'sans-serif' or 'serif' as the last font in the group, at least the end user will see the right 'type' of font.... Which is apparently a better end result than the Windows Font Randomizer. LOL...
For the short term the exercise of compiling a list of the most common fonts on all systems is a good idea and I will probably use the one Mivox compiled above. However, as someone coming from the print design world, I have always found it apalling that the web designer cannot control the font the end user sees. Well, gladly I think those days are over. All my recent research tells me that embedded open type and unicode will be the norm in a very short time, particularly for those developing multi-lingual sites but also for people like myself who want the same controll over fonts that we have in print.
Embedded open type fonts on sites will mean that any user on a unicode enabled machine will be able to open a site in any language and, without having to have special language kits or software, be able to see the site in it's native script and font whether that is Traditional Chinese, Hebrew, Thai, etc. The only drawbacks right now are that there just aren't that many open type fonts out there yet (Adobe has the most) and that not all systems yet suppport unicode.
For designers open type means that we will be able to use the thousands of fonts we are used to drawing from in the print world and be confident that they will display properly on almost every system.
Now if we could just get them to anti-alias.
It sounds like embedded fonts may get here eventually, but for a while this will create one more variable, which is how many users have it installed on their machines?
Woz's list is a helpful guide if we're really stuck with the Times and Helvetica families, but that's as far as it goes. It doesn't make any fine distinctions. Ultimately, I think, all it's saying is that any serif face on the list will default to Times/Times New Roman, and any sans-serif face to Arial/Helvetica.
Using the commonly installed default faces, is this the best that we can do right now, or are there other faces which have closer cross-platform equivalents?
OTOH, not being able to use more than a handful of fonts online has *really* helped key me in to the finer points of the other aspects of design... (layout, color, etc.). So maybe a short sentence served in font-deprivation h*ll has really done me some good as a designer overall...
a unicode enabled machine will be able to open a site in any language and, without having to have special language kits or software, be able to see the site in it's native script and font whether that is Traditional Chinese, Hebrew, Thai, etc.
I thought unicode was just another way of representing individual letters/symbols (such as & #64 ; instead of @)? If you type out a word in unicode, the letters in that word will remain the same no matter what language/font you have as your default. If I write an english word in unicode, and someone with a hebrew font opens the page, it will still show the hebrew equivalents of the letters in the english word... unless I used letters which don't have Hebrew equivalents, in which case things get even worse.
You can encode arbitrary Unicode symbols by using number; in your HTML.
The one problem is that just because there is a Unicode number for a symbol, doesn't mean that the end-user has a font capable of displaying that symbol.
Exactly; thus the need to embed the font in the html ergo the beauty of a unicode/embedded open type solution for sites in different languages/scripts.
For instance: there is no single-letter equivalent in the Roman alphabet for the Hebrew letter "Shin", and there's no Hebrew single-letter equivalent for the Roman letter "Z"... so whether I use the unicode for "Z", or simply type the letter "Z", the Hebrew font user will still not be able to view it correctly in their Hebrew font..
And if I type the word "horse" in unicode/english, someone in France is still going to see the letters H-O-R-S-E... they won't see the french equivalent for the word.
So I really don't see how unicode will solve any problems for an international website. And, AFAIK, all major browsers correctly interpret unicode today...
In the CSS2 font model, as in CSS1, each user agent has a "font database" at its disposition. CSS1 referred to this database but gave no details about what was in it. CSS2 defines the information in that database and allows style sheet authors to contribute to it. When asked to display a character with a particular font, the user agent first identifies the font in the database that "best fits" the specified font (according to the font matching algorithm) Once it has identified a font, it retrieves the font data locally or from the Web, and may display the character using those glyphs.
In light of this model, we have organized the specification into two sections. The first concerns the font specification mechanism, whereby authors specify which fonts they would like to have used. The second concerns the font selection mechanism, whereby the client's user agent identifies and loads a font that best fits the author's specification.
How the user agent constructs the font database lies outside the scope of this specification since the database's implementation depends on such factors as the operating system, the windowing system, and the client.
This property specifies a prioritized list of font family names and/or generic family names. To deal with the problem that a single font may not contain glyphs to display all the characters in a document, or that not all fonts are available on all systems, this property allows authors to specify a list of fonts, all of the same style and size, that are tried in sequence to see if they contain a glyph for a certain character. This list is called a font set.
The generic font family will be used if one or more of the other fonts in a font set is unavailable. Although many fonts provide the "missing character" glyph, typically an open box, as its name implies this should not be considered a match except for the last font in a font set.
"I think the most important attempt to extend typographic support on the web is Microsoft's "core fonts" for the web. You can see 'em at [url=www.microsoft.com/typography/fontpack]www.microsoft.com/typography/fontpack[/url] .
"Microsoft has been bundling these with various of its programs for a couple of years now, and they are in wide use. Plus you can download them for free for Mac or PC. I think it's really a pretty successful selection, much as I hate to say anything good about Microsoft -- although I'm not sure about Webdings.
"A couple of random notes:
1. Book Antiqua is Microsoft's name for the very useful font Palatino, which is likely to be on a lot of machines.
2. Both the PC and the Mac have a font called Symbol,which have much the same characters, but they are mapped differently, so you absolutely cannot use it across platforms."
Does anyone know how widely distributed the fontpack is? I'm guessing that it's probably not universal enough to treat it as a default....