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There are two general categories of fonts – serif (with the hats and feet on the letters) and sans serif (sans = without, ie. plain letters). Most browsers recognize these two as different and will display them appropriately.

After that, it depends. This s a huge frustration for designers going from print to the web. Letting the viewer and their browser decide on font style is new for them when they are used to having complete control over every element of the page look-and-feel.

What you have – look in your browser Preferences. There will be a list of the fonts that you have on your system. In your preferences settings you pick the font your browser will use unless something else is specified. This will be set to some default if you haven’t changed it.

Willard p. 457 suggests checking to see what fonts you have installed on your system by looking at the fonts available in your word processor. Even if you have a font on your system, there is no guarantee that your viewers will have the font.

If you really want to use a special font, you can include the text as a graphic that you saved that displays the way you want it.

However, one of the big features of the web was the viewers’ ability to control the page display. Someone with vision problems can make the font much larger if you used standard fonts and allowed for viewer override. We will talk about this more when we consider accessibility.

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