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Old 08-31-2005, 01:40 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Most common browser fonts by platform

Codestyle has recently updated its survey of fonts used on the web. Based on that, I extracted a list of fonts found on from 75% or more of Windows and Mac computers. (I eliminated any found only on one platform or the other.)

There are some funny ones, but the survey is now done by RSS sampling (instead of voluntary actions by users), so it may be right. The list is in order by rank, from most common to less so:

Code:
Windows            Mac

Arial Black        Arial Black
Comic Sans MS	   Arial
Verdana            Courier, Courier New*
Arial              Verdana
Courier New*       Comic Sans MS
Impact             Trebuchet MS
Trebuchet MS       Georgia
Georgia            Times, Times New Roman**
Times New Roman*   Impact

* Mac users are as likely to have plain Courier as Courier New; and many Macs also have Andale Mono. Makes sense to list all three in CSS font lists for mono-width fonts (and I put Andale Mono first as it is most legible).

** If you really want to specify Times (which is very small and hard to read on-screen), you should specify it as Times, Times New Roman. But really, best not to specify it at all — if a user has none of the specified serif fonts, they will probably see Times anyway. (Interesting — hard to believe, actually — Times New Roman shows up in the Windows list for only 78% of users.)

   
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Old 08-31-2005, 05:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
** If you really want to specify Times (which is very small and hard to read on-screen), you should specify it as Times, Times New Roman. But really, best not to specify it at all — if a user has none of the specified serif fonts, they will probably see Times anyway. (Interesting — hard to believe, actually — Times New Roman shows up in the Windows list for only 78% of users.)
Kathleen,

To be thourough, if you specify Times, Times New Roman, it should be Times, "Times New Roman"

Multi word fonts should be quoted.

I'm still old-school, though. Arial, Helvetica, Sans-Serif. Or sometimes Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, Sans-serif. I never rely on fonts that aren't 100% available, especially if it's critical to the design. If I really need a special font, I create small gifs using the font. Then include identical ALT text. Don't do it too much on my own sites, but have had to do it at work to mimic headers from printed brochures.

   
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Old 08-31-2005, 06:01 PM   #3
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Interesting. Since I will generally run quickly away from any web site using Comic Sans.
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Old 08-31-2005, 07:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by donmcc
Interesting. Since I will generally run quickly away from any web site using Comic Sans.
I like Comic Sans, but for some things and not usually web sites. And never for web sites that suggest serious content.

   
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Old 09-01-2005, 06:28 AM   #5
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I like Comic Sans, but for some things and not usually web sites. And never for web sites that suggest serious content.
Yes, that would be hard to reconcile, wouldn’t it?

   
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Old 09-01-2005, 06:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dacoyle
… if you specify Times, Times New Roman, it should be Times, "Times New Roman"
It was a list, not a CSS spec! Good grief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dacoyle
I'm still old-school, though. Arial, Helvetica, Sans-Serif. Or sometimes Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, Sans-serif. I never rely on fonts that aren't 100% available, especially if it's critical to the design.
Not sure how that is old-school — well, I guess in the same way that unstyled HTML might be old-school! <g>

That was the point of that list. Verdana beat Arial in Windows and was virtually tied on the Mac; no need to use Arial (or Helvetica) at all. Good thing, too; I simply cannot read those fonts on-screen, at least not in the sizes we generally see.

   
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Old 09-01-2005, 07:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
Yes, that would be hard to reconcile, wouldn’t it?
And it's the need to reconcile that designers often miss: if the content is serious, the design has to be serious, or serious surfers will be gone before they even see the content.

   
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Old 09-02-2005, 03:02 AM   #8
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I did not recognize two of the listed fonts, Impact and Trebuchet MS, so I went to the Fonts list (Win XP) to look at them. On my fonts list, Courier was the oldest font, 1991, in the whole list, and shown as PFM. Perhaps that is from the IBM Selectric Typewriter.

Thank you for the list, Kathleen.
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Old 09-02-2005, 04:25 AM   #9
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I like Comic Sans, but for some things and not usually web sites. And never for web sites that suggest serious content.
One of my clients is an educational psychologist who works with adolescents. He is convinced that dyslexics find it easier to accurately read Comic Sans than any other typeface and recommends that it should be used for any site providing information for youngsters.

Personally, I rarely use it - only when the client insists.

   
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Old 09-02-2005, 06:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dthomsen8
On my fonts list, Courier was the oldest font, 1991, in the whole list, and shown as PFM. Perhaps that is from the IBM Selectric Typewriter.
Actually, Courier pre-dated the Selectric.

Bud Kettler designed Courier for the old typebar electric IBM typewriter in 1955 (the Selectric didn’t come out until the 1960s). I remember it vividly as I worked in an office during that period, and lusted after the snazzy Selectric (but worked for people too cheap to buy one!).

You can find out all about Courier and its designer at Bill Troop’s web site (scroll down to The Man Behind Courier: the Bud Kettler Page).

   
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