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Recommended fonts introduction

Choosing fonts for Internet sites

As both CSS and the FONT FACE tag allow designers to specify a list of fonts there is no reason why obscure fonts can't be chosen as your first choice, with more common fonts included further down the list.

Using CSS a long list of font names will add very little to the overall file size if placed in a HEAD or linked style sheet.

P { font-family: my custom font, Palatino, Zapf 
    Calligraphic, Georgia, Times New Roman, 
    Times, Serif; }

However, with FONT FACE the list of font names must to be specified within every cell of a table.

<FONT FACE="my custom font, Palatino, Zapf 
Calligraphic, Georgia, Times New Roman, 
Times, Serif;">

For pages that include a lot of table cells, using FONT FACE with a long list of font names, can significantly increase the size of the HTML file, so in these cases it's best to choose two or three common fonts, rather than a long list of obscure ones.

Guessing which fonts your user will have installed

To help you pick fonts your users will probably have installed on their systems we've complied several lists of common fonts.

  • Quick reference table of Microsoft's TrueType core fonts for the Web

  • Fonts supplied with other products including Microsoft® MSIE3, Microsoft Windows® 3.x, Windows 95, Windows NT®, Microsoft Plus!, Microsoft Office, Adobe Type Manager 3.8, 3.9 and Deluxe 4.0, Apple Macintosh OS and UNIX.

Many users have realized that having hundreds of fonts installed on their computers is not a good idea. Users will often remove fonts installed by applications, and occasionally delete the core fonts supplied with their operating system. For this reason it's always advisable to include a line of text listing the fonts you've specified. For example if you specify Verdana, then consider adding a link such as;

this site uses Verdana download it from Microsoft Typography

This might be a good idea, even though this font is supplied with Microsoft MSIE3.

Of course you can create or license fonts which you specify within your pages and offer as a download for your readers. However, it's likely that only a small number of people will bother to download and install these. It has been suggested that a simple automatic font download and install plug-in could be useful in this regard. Problems and issues relating to this proposal are discussed in our Simple font delivery considered harmful article.

Choosing fonts for Intranet sites

The specification of fonts in HTML pages needn't be limited to their use within pages on the World Wide Web. Unlike publishing on the real Web, with an intranet you have more control over the kind of hardware and software, including fonts, that readers are using.

If you've had a corporate typeface developed for your organization, or you have invested in a site license for a range of existing fonts, then it makes sense to use these on your intranet pages.

Although the fonts need to be installed on all the computers with access to the intranet, this should be easier to achieve than trying to persuade everyone on the World Wide Web to download and install fonts you've created for viewing a specific site.

If you don't have the money or resources to get your own corporate fonts created or licensed, then look at the software installed on your users computers. In many organizations, products like Microsoft Office or Microsoft Publisher will be installed on everyone's computer. These applications and lots of others install fonts as part of their set-up routines, and we've listed the most common fonts on our Fonts supplied with other products page.

Send us details of fonts supplied with your applications

If you have produced or use an application that includes fonts, forward a list to how to contact us and we will add details to this resource. Also use this e-mail address to point out any mistakes or omissions from these lists.

this page was last updated 30 June 1997
© 1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Terms of use.
comments to the MST group: how to contact us


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