Whenever building a site especially your first site its very tempting to head over to your favorite font library and just go nuts. This is a exercise in futility though as almost 99% of those font cant display on the world wide web. Fear not intrepid young developer here is a list of the current fonts (many of them actually aesthetically pleasing) that are completely web safe.
The fonts that are most safe to use are:
Other options that usually work cross-platform are:
- Avant Garde
- Comic Sans MS
- Trebuchet MS
- Arial Black
HelveticaABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Helvetica is a sans-serif font. It is a good choice for short text, perhaps a paragraph or two in length. Unix and Macintosh computers have had always had Helvetica, and it is a native font on PostScript printers.
ArialABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Arial is near-copy of Helvetica, updated slightly. Windows uses Arial in place of Helvetica.
TimesABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Times (also called Times Roman) is the traditional serif font. It is available on Macintosh and Unix computers, and is a core PostScript font. Times was designed for use as newspaper column text. It has a small size, compared to most other fonts.
Times New RomanABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Times New Roman is Microsoft's version of Times. It is available on Windows computers, and most Macintosh computers.
CourierABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Courier is the traditional monospace font. It is available on Macintosh and Unix computers, and is a core PostScript font.
Courier NewABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Courier New is Microsoft's version of Courier. Most Windows and Macintosh computers will have Courier New.
Less-common sans-serif fontsVerdana is popular, but still new to the scene. Tahoma's style is half-way between Verdana and Arial. Comic Sans MS is often liked for its informal feel. Avante Garde is big and spacious. Impact and Arial Black are both designed for titles and headings. All of the fonts in this section suffer from the problem that most Unix machines don't have the fonts.
VerdanaABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
From around 2000 until mid-2002, Microsoft distributed a set of Web-optimized fonts, for free use. They have stopped allowing downloads, but still ship the fonts with Windows. Verdana is a sans-serif replacement. Its lowercase letters are very large, compared to the overall size of the font, which makes text easy to read on the web.
Unfortunately, the stretching of Verdana lowercase letters has two drawbacks. One issue is that the stretched letters don't look quite right when printed—compare them to Arial, for example. The other problem is that some people don't have the Verdana font, and these people may have trouble reading a web page that uses Verdana. The problem is that while 9 pt Verdana is readable, 9 pt Arial is not readable, and a person who doesn't have Verdana will probably have their web browser choose Arial as the substitute font.
TahomaABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Tahoma is another of Microsoft's web fonts. It is not as widely available as Verdana or Arial are.
Arial BlackABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Arial Black is a version of Arial designed for headlines.
Comic Sans MSABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Comic Sans MS is a sans-serif font with a soft, rounded style.
ImpactABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Impact is a Microsoft Web font, designed for headlines.
Avant GardeABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Avant Garde or Century Gothic. HP Printers call this Avant Garde Gothic.
Less-common serif fontsGeorgia is a web-optimized serif font, but is still a newcomer. Palatino is as old and established as Times is, but looks terrible on recent Unix systems. Century Schoolbook, Garamond, and Bookman seem to be available on Unix systems, but I am not sure how widespread they are on Windows/Mac systems.
GeorgiaABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Georgia is a Microsoft Web font. It has serifs but also has large lowercase letters, similar to Verdana. It is a nicely readable screen font, but has the same problems that Verdana does: it looks bad when printed, and paged designed for Georgia will look bad if rendered in Times, because of the difference in letter size.
PalatinoABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Palatino is a less-commonly used serif font. It is available on Macintosh and Unix computers, and is a core PostScript font. It is available on Windows computers under alternate font names.
Palatino was originally designed as a display font—for example, to be used in lettering on signs. Nevertheless, it is commonly used to set body text.
BookmanABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Bookman, also called Bookman Old Style. Not shipped with WinXP. Shipped with MS Office 2000.
GaramondABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Garamond. There are a lot of variants of this font. Not shipped with WinXP.
Century SchoolbookABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Century Schoolbook is a core postscript font. You cannot rely on its being present on Windows computers. Not shipped with WinXP.
Less-common monospace fontsAndale Mono is similar to Verdana and Georgia; it is a new font, not widespread, and not available on Unix or on some Windows computers.
Andale MonoABCDE abcde 012345 &*!,.
Andale Mono is yet another Microsoft's monospace typeface. It has some resemblance to Monaco. Not shipped with WinXP.