Why aren’t my fonts showing up correctly on my sister’s computer?

People often ask me why their site looks different from one computer to the next.  Basically this is because different browser interpret HTML differently.  I will save further explanation for next month.   Right now let’s talk about fonts specifically.  
Every computer has a set of fonts and they are not the same set of fonts.  PC’s and Mac’s automatically have different fonts installed and you can add or take away from the font list on your own computer.  If a font is set on a Web page that the viewer does not have installed, the computer will "guess" what the font is supposed to look like.  Sometimes it works, but often it becomes unreadable or you get funny characters intermixed with the letters.  That is one reason why if you design a site using Worn Manuscript as your font for a more medieval look and then go look at the font on a friends computer that does not have that font installed it will appear with the default font of Times New Roman.  

It’s ok, don’t panic.  There are ten "Internet Safe Fonts".  This means, in theory, that every computer has these fonts and will see your website as you designed it.  The problem with this theory is that people can and do delete fonts from their systems or set their browser to use a specific font.

For example if you wanted to you could set your browser to view all websites with a blue background, pink text, and the font as Century Gothic.  That is why I tell clients every day that you can’t make a website appear the same for everyone unless it is a graphic.  But then search engines will not index it.

The fonts that are termed "Internet Safe" are:

Arial Black
Comic Sans MS
Courier New
Times New Roman
Trebuchet MS

January 1, 2002

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