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That Font is Unreadable

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet

Have you seen that awful font that many websites are using lately? It’s almost totally unreadable!

Sure there are over a million amateur web page makers for every pro designer, but I think the reason so many web sites seem to be using an ugly font has more to do with your browser than the design skills of the person who made the site.

If your browser’s default font is some ugly, unreadable font, then any website that does not have a specified font will use your default.

Now, how to fix this…

The interface for Internet Explorer and AOL is the same, but you get there in different ways. With IE, go to Tools / Internet Options to open the control panel. With AOL, go to Settings / Preferences, then under “Organization” click “Internet Properties”.

Down at the bottom of the “General” page you will see a button marked “Fonts”—clicking it opens a window where you can select the font you want to have as a default.


For readability, keep it simple: Arial or Times New Roman. For plain text, you can do the same, or use Courier New for that typewriter look.

With Firefox go to Tools / Options and click “Fonts & Colors” under the General tab. You can specify font size. color, and more.


Now, with Netscape Navigator, go to Edit / Preferences, then under the “Appearance” category select “Fonts”.


From the “Fonts for” drop-down list, choose a character set. For instance, any of you who browse websites in Western languages (like English), set default fonts for the “Western” character set.

Next, select whether proportional text should be Serif (like Times Roman) or Sans-serif (like Arial). Then specify the font size you want for proportional text—normal size is 12 pt., but you can go larger or smaller if you want. You can also choose fonts for Serif, Sans-Serif, Cursive, Fantasy, and Monospace but I don’t think it will make much of a difference on most sites.

Who knew you had so much control over web site appearance?

~ David

David Samuel Thomas

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