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Terrific type tipsback to intro
High-tech type tips

Specify browser-safe fonts
As a Web type designer, your ability to specify fonts in HTML is limited to a few of the most commonly installed typefaces:

Common PC fonts:
Verdana*
Arial
Courier New
Times New Roman

Common Unix fonts:
Helvetica
Times

Common Macintosh fonts:
Helvetica
Courier
Palatino
Times
Verdana*
Arial*
 
* These fonts are usually available to users who install Internet Explorer 4.0 or download the free fonts from Microsoft's typography Web site.)

Although the <FONT> tag is facing extinction thanks to Cascading Style Sheets, it remains a stable, backwards-compliant, cross-browser tag that consistently selects the appropriate font from a list of commonly installed faces.

The best approach is to specify your favorite common typeface and include alternate choices in case users don't have that font installed. For example, if you're laying out a page in a sans-serif font, consider:


<FONT face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">

If a visitor doesn't have Verdana, chances are they have Arial or Helvetica. Otherwise, their browser will show whatever sans-serif face is available.

If you're laying out a page in a serif font, consider:


<FONT face="Palatino, Times, Times New Roman, serif">

Again, Mac and PC users probably have Palatino installed. If not, Mac users will default to Times, while PC users will see Times New Roman (or some other serif face).

With only a few HTML fonts available, many Web typographers prefer to create GIFs for headlines using a vector-based drawing tool (such as Macromedia Freehand or Adobe Illustrator) and an image-editing tool (such as Adobe PhotoDeluxe or Photoshop, whose 5.0 version is coming out this month with expanded typographic capabilities). Some Web designers believe that GIFs should never be used to present type, while others wish it was practical to set all their type in GIF form.

Related tips:
 •  Deliver type using DHTML  Minimize type within principal images
 •  Know <FONT size> and <H>


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