Font Family

2:49:00 PM |

Font Family

Note: If the name of a font family is more than one word, it must be in quotation marks, like font-family: "Times New Roman".
More than one font family is specified in a comma-separated list:


p{font-family:"Times New Roman", Times, serif;}

Font Style

The font-style property is mostly used to specify italic text.
This property has three values:
  • normal - The text is shown normally
  • italic - The text is shown in italics
  • oblique - The text is "leaning" (oblique is very similar to italic, but less supported)


p.normal {font-style:normal;}
p.italic {font-style:italic;}
p.oblique {font-style:oblique;}

Font Size

The font-size value can be an absolute, or relative size.
Absolute size:
  • Sets the text to a specified size
  • Does not allow a user to change the text size in all browsers (bad for accessibility reasons)
  • Absolute size is useful when the physical size of the output is known
Relative size:
  • Sets the size relative to surrounding elements
  • Allows a user to change the text size in browsers
* If you do not specify a font size, the default size for normal text, like paragraphs, is 16px (16px=1em).

Set Font Size With Pixels

Setting the text size with pixels, gives you full control over the text size:


h1 {font-size:40px;}
h2 {font-size:30px;}
p {font-size:14px;}
The example above allows Firefox, Chrome, and Safari to resize the text, but not Internet Explorer.
The text can be resized in all browsers using the zoom tool (however, this resizes the entire page, not just the text).

Set Font Size With Em

To avoid the resizing problem with Internet Explorer, many developers use em instead of pixels.
The em size unit is recommended by the W3C.
1em is equal to the current font size. The default text size in browsers is 16px. So, the default size of 1em is 16px.
The size can be calculated from pixels to em using this formula: pixels/16=em


h1 {font-size:2.5em;} /* 40px/16=2.5em */
h2 {font-size:1.875em;} /* 30px/16=1.875em */
p {font-size:0.875em;} /* 14px/16=0.875em */

In the example above, the text size in em is the same as the previous example in pixels. However, with the em size, it is possible to adjust the text size in all browsers.
Unfortunately, there is still a problem with IE. When resizing the text, it becomes larger than it should when made larger, and smaller than it should when made smaller.

Use a Combination of Percent and Em

The solution that works in all browsers, is to set a default font-size in percent for the body element:


body {font-size:100%;}
h1 {font-size:2.5em;}
h2 {font-size:1.875em;}
p {font-size:0.875em;}

CSS Font Properties

fontSets all the font properties in one declaration
font-familySpecifies the font family for text
font-sizeSpecifies the font size of text
font-styleSpecifies the font style for text
font-variantSpecifies whether or not a text should be displayed in a small-caps font
font-weightSpecifies the weight of a font