Catering for fonts that are not installed
W ithin html commands that specify the font for the page,
for the body, for the paragraph, for the span and in style sheets and inline
styles, it's commond to see a list of fonts.
This indicates to the browser which font to use if the prefered
font is not available. For example:
style="font-family: Comic Sans MS, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif"
indicates that the browser should use 'Comic Sans MS' if it's
available. If it's not available, it should use 'Verdana', etc.
One thing to consider when adopting this principle is that the fonts
should all have the same basic characteristics and, often more
importantly, the same relative size. For example, 12 point 'Comic Sans MS'
should be about the same size as 12 point 'Verdana' (which is isn't by the way).
Generally, if you use fonts identified as 'web safe fonts' you should
have no problems, as your first preference will most likely be honoured by
Mucking around with font features
A technique I've used on this page (and a couple of others in
this tutorial) is to use styles to render the first line of the first paragraph in
small capitals, and to make the first letter even bigger. This is another example of a technique
that works fine in principal but may not always work the way you want it to
on other surfer's browsers.
This particular technique seems to work quite well on most current
I've had to add a 'hard white space' between the first and second letters of the first word (where appropriate)
in order to get it to display in the way I want it to on Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Other techniques do not work as well as this across browsers, and this one
may look a little odd on much older browsers. (As with anything that stretches
things in the name of design - and this one's a bit iffy
- you have to decide if you can live with it.)
As with all things design-wise, seemingly iffy or not, you
are wise to test your pages on different browsers (or at least on the biggest).
economic madness to develop on Mozilla and say 'but IE should adhere
to the standards' given that you know that IE does not adhere to standards and that
most people use IE (as much as you or I may regret this).