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Home: Fonts

Fonts for the Web

Until font downloading technology is perfected, Web designers must normally restrict themselves to fonts that are available on most users’ computer systems.

So which fonts are installed on everyone’s computers? Your best bets are the ones that come with the Internet Explorer (MSIE) browser and the Windows and Macintosh operating systems. For the last few years, the MSIE fonts have been installed on every new Windows and Macintosh PC, so they are your best “cross-platform” bet.



[More details below]

FontPlatformCSS info
Andale Mono MS Internet Explorer MSIE

[Bold, Italic] Originally named Monotype.com

font-family: "Andale Mono", "Monotype.com", monospace
FontName Macintosh Mac

Also named Zapf Chancery on older Macs (and some Win PCs).

font-family: "Apple Chancery", "Zapf Chancery", cursive
Arial MS Internet Explorer MSIE

[Bold, Italic] Very similar to Helvetica.

font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
Arial Black MS Internet Explorer MSIE

Less common than Arial. Do not use it with a bold font-weight; it’s bold enough already!

font-family: "Arial Black", sans-serif
Capitals Macintosh Mac

Not on pre-1999 Macs

font-family: Capitals, serif
Charcoal Macintosh Mac

Mac system font (for menus, dialog boxes, etc.) since 1999. It will be very familiar to Mac users at 12 points, but also works well in headlines (without bold).

font-family: Charcoal, Chicago, sans-serif
Chicago Macintosh Mac

[Italic] Former Mac system font, replaced by Charcoal. Still present on every Mac ever made.

font-family: Chicago, Charcoal, sans-serif
FontName MS Internet Explorer MSIE

[Bold, Italic] An informal font designed to be easily legible on screen. Believe it or not, this is the default cursive font for Internet Explorer.

font-family: "Comic Sans MS", cursive
Courier (Mac scalable)

Courier (Windows bitmap)
Macintosh Mac

Windows Win

[Bold, Italic] Courier is the most common monospace (typewriter-style) font. The Mac version of Courier (top left, shown at 18 points) is scalable; the Windows version (bottom left, 15 points) is not. Therefore the scalable "Courier New" is preferred, as it is usually available on both Mac and Windows.

font-family: "Courier New", Courier, monospace
Courier New MS Internet Explorer MSIE

[Bold, Italic] See discussion under Courier

font-family: "Courier New", Courier, monospace
Fixedsys Windows Win

A non-scalable Windows system font used for DOS screens and other low-level tasks. Available only at 9 points.

font-family: fixedsys, monospace
Gadget Macintosh Mac

A display font; avoid bold and italics. Not on pre-1999 Macs.

font-family: Gadget, fantasy
Geneva Macintosh Mac

[Bold, Italic] A Mac system font since 1984. Its appearance resembles Arial and Helvetica; its function is similar to MS Sans Serif (icon names on the Desktop, etc.).

font-family: Geneva, "MS Sans Serif", sans-serif
Georgia MS Internet Explorer MSIE

[Bold, Italic] Designed by Microsoft for WWW use, Georgia is a traditional looking font with “old-style” numerals.

font-family: Georgia, serif
Helvetica Macintosh Mac

[Bold, Italic] A Mac system font since 1984. On the Web, Helvetica is usually paired with the nearly identical (and more common) Arial.

font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
Hoefler Text Macintosh Mac

[Bold, Italic] Not on pre-1999 Macs

font-family: "Hoefler Text", serif
Impact MS Internet Explorer MSIE

Less common than other MSIE fonts such as Arial. A very heavy, black font, good for headlines. Weight and width are sort of like Techno.

font-family: Impact, sans-serif
Monaco Macintosh Mac

Monospace font, present on all Macs. Monaco 9-point is associated with programming, debugging, and other low-level tasks, somewhat like Windows Fixedsys, System, and Terminal.

font-family: monaco, sans-serif
MS Gothic Windows Win

Monospace system font dating back to Windows 95. Best at 12 pixels and under.

font-family: "MS Gothic", monospace
MS Sans Serif Windows Win

Windows system font, used for dialog boxes, etc. Best at 12 pixels and under.

font-family: "MS Sans Serif", Geneva, sans-serif
MS Serif Windows Win

Windows system font. Best at 12 pixels and under.

font-family: "MS Serif", "New York", serif
New York Macintosh Mac

[Bold, Italic] Mac system font: similar in appearance to Times Roman, similar in function to MS Serif.

font-family: "New York", "MS Serif", serif
Palatino Macintosh Mac

A nice serif font, present on all Macs and fairly common on PCs (with office software suites).

font-family: Palatino, serif
Sand Macintosh Mac

Not on pre-1999 Macs

font-family: Sand, fantasy
Skia Macintosh Mac

Not on pre-1999 Macs

font-family: Skia, sans-serif
System Windows Win

Non-scalable (available only at 10 points), present on all Windows PCs, used for menus, etc.

font-family: System, sans-serif
Tahoma Windows Win

Rarely used on the Web, Tahoma does have the advantage of being present even on very old Windows PCs.

font-family: Tahoma, serifSansSerifMonospace
Techno Macintosh Mac

Not on pre-1999 Macs

font-family: Techno, Impact, sans-serif
Terminal (9 pt.)

Terminal (12 pt.)

Terminal (14 pt.)
Windows Win

A non-scalable, monospace system font used for the DOS or “command-line” interface. Terminal looks very different at different point sizes. Shown here are 9, 12, and 14 points.

font-family: Terminal, monospace
Textile Macintosh Mac

Not on pre-1999 Macs

font-family: Textile, cursive
Times Roman (Mac) Macintosh Mac

Because some PCs have non-scalable fonts named Times, it is common to lead with the scalable, nearly ubiquitous MSIE font Times New Roman instead. Times is noticeably more compact than Times New Roman, so it can be too small to read on screen.

font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif
Times New Roman MS Internet Explorer MSIE

This is by far the most common serif font on the Web. It is the default serif font in most browsers.

font-family: "Times New Roman", serif
FontName MS Internet Explorer

A sans-serif font designed (like Verdana) for legibility on screen.

font-family: "Trebuchet MS", sans-serif
Verdana MS Internet Explorer

Possibly the most readable of the sans-serif fonts commissioned by Microsoft for on-screen use. However, Verdana shouldn’t be used side-by-side with same-sized serif fonts, because Verdana will appear one or two sizes larger.

font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
FontName Macintosh Mac

Functionally similar to Windows Terminal and Fixedsys, VT-100 can be scaled up for a “bitmappy” appearance.

font-family: "VT-100", monospace

The CSS font-family property lets you specify more than one font at a time, in order of preference. If the first choice is unavailable, CSS moves on to the second one, and so on. So if you really like Franklin Gothic Demi as a headline font, you can use the following CSS:

h1,h2,h3 { 
  font-family: "Franklin Gothic Demi", Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; 
}

(If a font name contains spaces, enclose it in quotes. Conclude a font-family declaration with one of the generic font types: either sans-serif, serif, monospace or the less common cursive or fantasy.)

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