In order to make your web pages look good across all platforms and browsers, you must standardize your font selection. You must also limit the fonts that you use to those that probably will be installed on most of your target systems.

The reason for this is simple: fonts within web pages are only displayed properly if the font is installed within the viewers computer system. You might think your web page looks great with the “Oreo Bazooka Joe” font, but since I don’t have that installed my system will substitute my default font.

The problem is especially apparent for those Windows designers with many different fonts installed. It looks great on their system, right? Some web sites solve this problem by allowing their visitors to download and install the fonts which they display. I’ve seen this most often in “Halloween” sites with their strange, gothic fonts. Have I ever downloaded and installed those fonts? Nope.

However, people today are using strange and unique fonts to stand out on the social networks. You can find a cursed text generator online and type your words and copy the generated text with your unique font.

This method has the same problem that plug-ins introduce: visitors usually don’t want to install special things to view your web site. Requiring them to install a new font just gives people one more reason to leave fast. Microsoft has helped by creating a series of “web fonts” – a core of fonts which are by default installed on any system that runs Internet Explorer. These fonts are the same for both Windows and Macintosh.

These fonts include “Verdana”, “Arial”, “Trebuchet MS”. “Georgia” and “Comic Sans MS”.

Generally, when you specify a font in a web page you should indicate a primary font and a secondary font. This gives the system a choice as to which fonts to use. The tag is styled as shown below.

This tag says to use Comic Sans MS if it is available. If not, then Arial is to be used. The advantage of using this method is that you can ensure that your web pages work properly even if your visitors do not have exactly the right fonts installed.

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