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Web Development - Fonts

Why is My Text Too Big/Small on Another Machine?

You've just spent hours (days???) creating your 'perfect' webpage layout. You've tested and tested your page, and now you take the plunge and place your webpage online. It looks great on your machine.

... Then, you decide to test it on another machine.

"Yikes!" (or some other word of your choosing) your scream. "Why do some of the words wrap at strange places? Why is the text alignment wrong? Why are the fonts so big/so small?"

Welcome to the world of cross-browser interoperatibility! What looks good on your machine may not look quite so nice on another. Using basic HTML, it is impossible to determine exactly how your fonts will appear on other systems. Some computers use a default font point size, and some people will have their browsers purposely set with a smaller/larger default font size.

What can you do? You have a couple of choices. Either grab a book on Cascading Style Sheets (CCS) and design your pages so they look perfect - on only the latest browsers. Or, you could test your webpages using a variety of browsers before putting it online. Test your webpage using IE and Netscape, then borrow a friend's computer and test it on their machine. Figure out how your webpage will look on other machines, and then work from there. Realize that you can not guarantee that your page will look exactly the same from one computer/browser to the next. Do what you can, though, to minimize the differences and make your page look good in a variety of computing environments.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.