Could we change the default font?

I keep forgetting that there are browsers not smart enough to allow you to limit such changes to single domains or pages. The “screw the whole innartubes!” setting is an accessibility option… I wasn’t suggesting anyone would use it just because they really like Comic Sans.

Well, very little, anyway.

I’d sooner see Monaco as default. Nice big characters, consistent spacing, bold, Italic, underline, [del]delete[/del], [sub]subscripts[/sub] and [sup]superscripts[/sup], cap I and cap L are all easily distinguishable. What’s not to love?

Heck, programs practically write themselves in Monaco:

10 FOR n = 1 to 100
20 PRINT “Monaco rules”
40 GOTO 10

The fact that, by this post, ‘nice big characters’ is an overstatement of epic proportions?

It’s also a serif font, which renders it almost entirely unreadable for me at that size.

Wouldn’t it be easier just to write this?:

10 **PRINT ** “Monaco rules”
20 **GOTO ** 10

Your browser must be substituting some other font.
Monaco is sans serif.

Sure, if you like spaghetti code. :wink:

Monaco doesn’t seem to appear as such in IE7. I see a sans-serif font. It’s not listed in the Word 2003 drop-down box either. (Presumably those two facts are connected.) So I don’t get the joke, whatever it was.

Only if you want your program to make the amateur’s mistake of never terminating.

But I’m another one who agrees that a different default font would be nice. I also can’t see bold as bold in Trebuchet.

I also see a serif font in TINY letters.

I’ve always liked Century Gothic

No joke, simple statement. Apparently, Monaco (which actually isn’t half bad) wasn’t installed on this machine (checking, it’s an Apple font, which would presumably explain that - and argue against using it), and the substituted font is Times in a positively tiny size.

But his program wouldn’t have terminated as is. I was just reducing its complexity by half.

Okay, I added Verdana to the CSS statement for sans-serif.

(I thought it was in there already; I KNOW it was in an earlier version.)

Lemme know if that works for you.

Wow, you did? Thank you, Tuba! Thank you! :slight_smile: […happy old man dancing… falling… crying… but still thankfull…]

Or we could just grape the whole thing.

::flees before heavy objects can be thrown::

Ha! I posted similar comments about Trebuchet way back in March 2004! Somebody in a following post said that they could see the difference just fine, which makes me wonder if this is a Mac/Windows issue (I’m still on a Mac), or possibly a screen resolution issue (or both - I’ve noticed that Mac users seem more likely than Windows users to run at high resolutions). In 2004 I was still typically running my 19" monitor at 1280x1024; now as my eyesight is failing with age and I’m not doing so much graphics work, I’ve taken to running at 1024x768. The difference between normal and bold Trebuchet is a little bit easier to see at 1024x768, but still not as easy as Verdana. Verdana is a very relaxing font for onscreen reading, and the SDMB is just about the only site on the Internet (well, the subset of sites on the Internet that I visit, anyway) that doesn’t let me use my own preferred font.

I dunno, I read a study, or a reference to some such study, that determined that sans-serif fonts are easier to read onscreen, while serif fonts are easier to read in print. And Georgia looks very crowded and fuzzy to me onscreen.

Only when I’m reading comics.

It definitely is a Windows/OS X difference. The sub-pixel rendering is different between the two platforms. I usually prefer the OS X way of doing things (no surprise, considering I’m a Mac user) but I can see the benefit in certain situations for the Windows ClearType rendering. On screen, at small font sizes, it sometimes is more readable. It doesn’t look better though. I prefer the letter shapes and feel (density, black/white space) to be preserved.

The resolution thing might be an issue too. I do run at the highest available resolution, have my icons turned down to 36 pixels, and bump the default font size down a notch or two on most sites. I view the SDMB at one step down, which I guess is 9 pt type. The distinction between bold and standard does tend to get lost unless the font has a good strong bold.

Font rendering does matter for doing layout. I did my own wedding invitations and, since I was working both at my place and my fiancée’s, I was working cross-platform. The font rendering in XP threw off the layout significantly and I ended up doing several test prints in between adjustments to try to resolve things after what I saw on the page and what I saw on the screen didn’t match. The support for ligatures and kerning was also better and more easily adjusted in OS X. It didn’t help things that XP didn’t seem to have consistent color control and that the print driver kept wanting to change my margins. I eventually had to bring my Mac to the printer, rather than just transfer the file when I did my final printing run.

I wasn’t even as exacting as a real designer; it was only my second or third time doing page design and layout. I can see why design professionals, who are dealing with tens of thousands of dollars in printing costs, prefer to work with Apple’s system over Windows. A discrepancy in margins or color could mean an enormous difference in cost on a printing run. I was annoyed that I’d wasted about $20 in paper when I thought the layout was finished and all I had to do was print it. I can’t imagine what a $40,000 “oopsie” would feel like.

I understand why people don’t like Comic Sans. It’s not a very readable font since the line weight is heavy and the shapes run together at small sizes. It’s curvy, bubbly, and looks like the kind of thing a teenage girl who has a heavy hand would write with a medium-to-thick ball point pen or marker tip. Like it or not, it has associations of immaturity, amateurishness, and exaggerated femaleness. The creator of the font has actually said that he had, “no intention to include the font in other applications other than those designed for children when I designed Comic Sans.” In other words, the font’s creator explicitly says that it’s childish. Since it’s so asymmetric it is a good font for dyslexics, but that lack of symmetry is probably part of why so many people find it ugly.

There are other fonts that emulate hand-writing for the few cases where that kind of thing is actually a good choice. Choosing one of them will at least let you get away from being associated with design nightmares like this “professional” website. Or this teenage girl. Or this parody(?), or this template, or one of the more disturbing websites I’ve seen for an [“entertainer”](http:// www. (partially disabled due to music that auto-plays and NSFW graphic on welcome page). Derek is at least up front about his design choices, this pet-related site at least doesn’t have real layout issues, and this doll site is mostly just sparse, amateurish, and unfinished rather than being aggressively ugly. And you could say that the font is being used appropriately here though the company it’s keeping is more than slightly suspect and frankly makes my eyes hurt. There are plenty of horrible websites out there that don’t use Comic Sans, or that only use a little bit on the entry page, but you’ll probably find 99 websites that feature bad design+use of Comic Sans for every page whose only real fault is the use of Comic Sans.

Fonts do send certain messages. Looking at samples of handwriting makes a difference in how you view people. It’s the same thing with fonts for businesses. Helvetica says, “standard, reliable, business-like, safe.” Also, known as boring if you’re looking for something new, but people rarely choose banks based on edgy or hip sensibilities. Times is called that because it’s was created for the London Times, though it has also been used for typesetting a lot of books and other newspapers. You get good literary associations from using that font, which is why most people don’t have negative reactions against it even though it’s probably used even more than Comic Sans.

I have also read articles differentiating between “legibility” and “readability”, how for titles you want to use sans-serif fonts, and maybe even something about how sans-serif fonts are better for computer monitor display. But then I’ve also read some articles that say that Georgia is a good choice for webpages. I personally always use serif fonts wherever possible, because otherwise in things were spelling is of paramount importance, like webpages, e-mail addresses, etc. the uppercase I, lowercase l, number 1 etc. cause me no end of trouble.

Or, to be more succinct:
When I use Georgia, yes Georgia
All those things I read online
Come as sweet and clear
As moonlight through the pines

Sleel - all that you say about webdesign is true and useful, but rule number one still remains: What brings people to your website is content! not just style!

I saw an example in an article of this webpage: The Best Page In The Universe ( which is supposedly very popular even though the design is terrible (according to the author of the article, and I agree.)

Someone suggested I post in here as I’ve just shown a couple of people in the Pit how to customise the SDMB’s fonts using user style sheets, which are supported by most modern browsers. This means people can change the fonts they see on the SDMB without affecting anyone else. There follow examples for how to make Verdana the default body text font for Firefox, Opera and IE7.


Install the Stylish extension, then restart Firefox and open up an SDMB tab. In the very bottom right hand corner, click the little icon that looks like a paintbrush on a page (or something), and select “write style … for”. You’ll get a text entry box with a couple of lines filled out already; ignore them. Just paste the following at the end of the box, click “preview” to check it works, then click save.

  font-family: Verdana, "Trebuchet MS", Arial, Tahoma !important;


Open a text editor, paste the same code from above in to it, and save the file as “sdmb.css” (or similar) somewhere you won’t lose it. Open up an SDMB tab, right click on the page and select “Edit site preferences”. Go to the “Display” tab and you’ll see a file select box for “my style sheet”. Choose the sdmb.css file you just saved, and click “ok”.


Open a text editor, paste the code below into it, and save it as “sdmb.css” (or similar) somewhere you won’t lose it. Then in IE7 go to “Tools … Internet Options”, and hit the “accessibility” button at the bottom right of the options dialog. Check the option to “format pages using my stylesheet”, and select the sdmb.css file that you just saved. Restart IE.

/* Main post listing */
div#posts div.tborder div.alt1,div.alt2 {
  font-family: Verdana, "Trebuchet MS", Arial, Tahoma !important;
div#posts div.tborder pre.alt2 {
  font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace !important;

/* Preview box */ table.tborder td.alt1,td.alt2 {
  font-family: Verdana, "Trebuchet MS", Arial, Tahoma !important;
} table.tborder pre.alt2 {
  font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace !important;


Safari also supports per-site user style sheets, but I don’t use it so don’t know how to apply them. Look it up in the help, then use the code from the Firefox example. I haven’t tested it in Safari, obviously.

Other fonts:

If you want something other than Verdana, the way it works is that the “font-family” line defines which fonts you want in order of preference. So in the examples above, the browser will display Verdana if it can find it, otherwise it’ll fall back on Trebuchet, Arial and Tahoma in that order. So just put your preferred font at the start of the list, remembering to separate the names with commas.


Those using IE7 might discover that other sites are changed, since IE applies just the one custom sheet to all sites; that’s why the code is different, to try and affect only the SDMB. It’s pretty unlikely, though; the most likely to be affected are other sites running similar versions of vBulletin.

Oh yeah: Important! Remember you’ve now customised your SDMB experience in a way which the admins have no control over. If something is displaying weirdly, please disable your custom style sheet and restart your browser before posting here about potential bugs. While I don’t think my code above should cause any more problems (the IE stuff is more complicated because I had to fix the [****code] tags, which no longer rendered properly), I make no guarantees.

Anyway, enjoy. :slight_smile:

It works great! I haven’t had a single problem at this site or any other. And now, everything is so much more readable for me. The larger, clearer print helps so much. It’s just the right size, without being too big the way it is when you ctrl-mousewheel.

And now if only the blinding white background could be toned down. Then it would be ideal. :slight_smile:

Wow, thanks for the tip, Dead Badger. What a cool extension!