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Setting a font family

From: CSS: Core Concepts

Video: Setting a font family

Now that we've talked about how to target content on the page and how to resolve any conflicts that might arise. I want to move on to focus on the properties that we can set for CSS rules and I want to start by focusing in this chapter on typography. Basic text formatting is a natural place to start when discussing CSS properties, because typography is such an immediate need for beginning web designers. I want to start by going over the syntax for choosing font-families. So I have the font-family.htm file open here and you can find that in 04_01 folder.

Setting a font family

Now that we've talked about how to target content on the page and how to resolve any conflicts that might arise. I want to move on to focus on the properties that we can set for CSS rules and I want to start by focusing in this chapter on typography. Basic text formatting is a natural place to start when discussing CSS properties, because typography is such an immediate need for beginning web designers. I want to start by going over the syntax for choosing font-families. So I have the font-family.htm file open here and you can find that in 04_01 folder.

Very basic page structure. Again we have our article tag inside the body tag, inside of that we have a headline and just a couple of paragraphs. So what I want to do, is I want to go up to the body rule that's one of the places where we've been sort of setting font-families in the past and you may have remembered doing this in some of previous exercises, I'm just going to create a new property, I'm going to use the font dash family property, font-family and I'm just going to ahead and pass the font name Arial.

So you'll notice we don't need any quotation marks there, the font doesn't need to be capitalizes it is case- sensitive and it must be spelled correctly. So when I save this and if I test it one of my browsers, I can see that I am giving Arial as the font-family. Now, I'm not embedding Arial in the page. What's happening is the web browser is requesting from the client machine the font Arial, its saying hey do you have Arial installed. Well, one of the problems with using these types of system fonts is that we are relying on the client machine.

So in this case if the page we're being previewed on a system that maybe didn't have Arial installed what would happen is the browser would just go ahead and use its default font whatever that might be to display the page. What happens if the default font is a lot different than Arial? What happen if it's Times New Roman or Times? The page is going to look entirely different? So there are few things that we can do when we are defining our font-families the sort of combat this fallback procedure. So I'm going to go back to my code and right after Arial, inside the semicolon, I'm going to type in comma Helvetica. I'll save that and if I preview this in my browser I'll notice no change and I notice no change because we'll Helvetica is installed on the system, but Arial is as well.

So this is what's known as a font stack and you can have as many fonts listed here as you want. What's going to happen is that the browsers is going to request from the client machines this font first, if it finds it, it will display the page using that font. If it's not installed it will fall back to the next font in the stack, so you can just keep adding as many to the stack as you'd like. Usually at the end of the stack you're going to pass a generic font-family that is basically the same as the fonts you're requesting, so at the end of this stack if I type in comma sans-serif, I'm asking for whatever the devices default or generic sans-serif font might be.

So in the case that Arial or Helvetica wasn't installed I would at least get a sans-serif font. In this case if I saved it and tested it, again I'm not going to notice any change, because Arial is already installed. Well let see this fallback actually working. So I'm going to go ahead and remove this font stack and add another one, I'm just going to enter NoFont, Georgia, serif. I'm going to go ahead and save that and if I test this in my browser, I notice I get Georgia, because no font is not a font.

So it was the first font that the browser request for my system, the system said I have no idea what font that is I don't have it, so went ahead and used Georgia instead. Even if you were to have two of them fail on you, so I went NoFont, NotAFont, serif, if I saved this and tested it, notice that I'm not getting Georgia anymore, but I am giving the default serif font. So serif and sans-serif are part of the generic font families all systems have a font that's dedicated to be the generic sans-serif or generic serif font. Let's take a look at what those fonts might be.

Now this fonts are always going to change based on the operating system that you're using, what fonts are installed on the machine, whatever those preferences are. So as you're testing this with me, I would expect that you're going to see different results than I am. So don't be surprised by that. Remember, you're basically getting the default font that set for that sort of generic font-family. Two are the generic font families we've are talked about serif and sans-serif, but there are few more out there that I want to talk about. One is monospace. So if I just do a font stack with nobody else in front of it, I just name the generic font face, if I save this then I get what if the default monospace font might be in this case looks like it is Courier.

I could also request to little- known ones and that is cursive, so if I go ahead and save that and test that in my browser, I get this lovely font here, that's very nice. And we also have in place of cursive, you could use fantasy and it's probably my favorite. Now I'm going to save this and test it, and I get oh, Papyrus, well yes that's the first thing that comes in my mind when I think fantasy. Now if you're using a PC, you might even have in a comic-sans here which is even little bit more ironic.

Let's go back to our font stack and what I want to do now is to do sort of a longer font stack using Georgia. I'm going to type in Georgia, Times, Times New Roman, serif. So you can string as many fonts together as you want, there is no limit to them and typically you want to stick to two or three fonts, four fonts probably at the most. Now there is a little bit of a problem with the syntax that I've written here.

Times New Roman is one single font, but the problem is there are white spaces in its name. Whenever you have a font that has multiple words in its name, it's best to go ahead and pass that in as a literal string. So I'm going to want to go ahead and encase Times New Roman in quotation marks. So if I save this, test in my browser now I'm getting Georgia again, perfect. Now overall other than some of these little things you have to remember like quotation marks around any fonts that has more than one word in it.

The syntax is pretty easy to master it making declaring a font family one of the easier things that you'll ever do in CSS and that's a good thing, because you're going to be doing it a lot. Now if you want to get a little bit more information about system fonts and building really high-quality font stacks, I'm going to recommend a web site to you and that is code styles font stack builder. You can find it here at codestyle.org, you can just search their web site for built better CSS font stack then it'll take you here. Here you'll find a lot of information on the installation base of specific fonts, so you know which fonts are most widely installed and then some of the recommended font stacks that can help you get started.

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This video is part of

Image for CSS: Core Concepts
CSS: Core Concepts

81 video lessons · 43604 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 4m 57s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 2s
  2. 1h 7m
    1. Exploring default styling
      4m 56s
    2. CSS authoring tools
      2m 29s
    3. CSS syntax
      4m 45s
    4. Writing a selector
      4m 10s
    5. Setting properties
      8m 40s
    6. Common units of measurement
      7m 47s
    7. Inline styles
      5m 1s
    8. Embedded styles
      5m 19s
    9. Using external style sheets
      10m 34s
    10. Checking for browser support
      8m 48s
    11. Dealing with browser inconsistencies
      5m 30s
  3. 2h 15m
    1. Structuring HTML correctly
      2m 51s
    2. Element selectors
      4m 52s
    3. Class selectors
      6m 4s
    4. ID selectors
      3m 27s
    5. Using classes and IDs
      10m 7s
    6. Element-specific selectors
      4m 35s
    7. The universal selector
      5m 42s
    8. Grouping selectors
      4m 49s
    9. Descendent selectors
      7m 32s
    10. Child selectors
      5m 7s
    11. Adjacent selectors
      5m 30s
    12. Attribute selectors
      12m 43s
    13. Pseudo-class selectors
      3m 54s
    14. Dynamic pseudo-class selectors
      8m 29s
    15. Structural pseudo-class selectors
      6m 45s
    16. Nth-child selectors
      13m 10s
    17. Pseudo-element selectors
      12m 40s
    18. Targeting page content: Lab
      8m 56s
    19. Targeting page content: Solution
      7m 59s
  4. 42m 39s
    1. What happens when styles conflict?
      4m 0s
    2. Understanding the cascade
      5m 47s
    3. Using inheritance
      6m 11s
    4. Selector specificity
      6m 55s
    5. The !important declaration
      4m 5s
    6. Reducing conflicts through planning
      3m 33s
    7. Resolving conflicts: Lab
      6m 45s
    8. Resolving conflicts: Solution
      5m 23s
  5. 1h 47m
    1. Setting a font family
      7m 10s
    2. Using @font-face
      9m 18s
    3. Setting font size
      7m 35s
    4. Font style and font weight
      6m 52s
    5. Transforming text
      3m 58s
    6. Using text variants
      2m 49s
    7. Text decoration options
      4m 26s
    8. Setting text color
      3m 2s
    9. Writing font shorthand notation
      8m 49s
    10. Controlling text alignment
      6m 33s
    11. Letter and word spacing
      9m 11s
    12. Indenting text
      4m 30s
    13. Adjusting paragraph line height
      10m 30s
    14. Controlling the space between elements
      6m 41s
    15. Basic text formatting: Lab
      8m 45s
    16. Basic text formatting: Solution
      7m 14s
  6. 2h 1m
    1. Understanding the box model
      16m 53s
    2. Controlling element spacing
      14m 29s
    3. Controlling interior spacing
      10m 49s
    4. Margin and padding shorthand notation
      6m 27s
    5. Adding borders
      8m 57s
    6. Defining element size
      10m 7s
    7. Creating rounded corners
      6m 58s
    8. Background properties
      2m 51s
    9. Using background images
      5m 10s
    10. Controlling image positioning
      10m 25s
    11. Using multiple backgrounds
      7m 5s
    12. Background shorthand notation
      5m 25s
    13. Styling container elements: Lab
      7m 55s
    14. Styling container elements: Solution
      8m 17s
  7. 47m 51s
    1. Color keyword definitions
      5m 4s
    2. Understanding hexadecimal notation
      6m 5s
    3. Using RGB values
      4m 58s
    4. Using HSL values
      5m 17s
    5. Working with opacity
      2m 23s
    6. Using RGBa and HSLa
      3m 8s
    7. Styling drop shadows
      5m 38s
    8. CSS gradients
      6m 32s
    9. Working with color: Lab
      4m 26s
    10. Working with color: Solution
      4m 20s
  8. 1m 58s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 58s

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