[thelist] Font sizing revisited

martin.p.burns at uk.pwcglobal.com martin.p.burns at uk.pwcglobal.com
Wed Oct 17 04:36:26 CDT 2001

Memo from Martin P Burns of PricewaterhouseCoopers

-------------------- Start of message text --------------------

Hi Bruce

Yeah, ems are a great theory. Shame they don't work.

The normal 2 options for specifying font sizes are
1) Specify in px (if you allow your users to change the base sizes using
http://evolt.org/User_Font_Control/ then you still have user-flexibility)
2) Don't specify them at all (which gives your users total control)

Bear in mind that users with most modern browsers have the option
to use their own personal stylesheet to override yours anyway...

More on why these are the 2 options:


Please respond to thelist at lists.evolt.org

Sent by:  thelist-admin at lists.evolt.org

To:   thelist at lists.evolt.org

Subject:  [thelist] Font sizing revisited

An age-old conundrum (in web years) to be sure, but one that was never
answered to my satisfaction. Specifying font sizes in pixels means that
they are not resizable in most browsers and lead to tiny text for people
that browse at high resolutions on small monitors. Em's have problems as
well, as do percentages.

So, I've resorted to using named sizes (x-small, large, xx-large, etc.).
Unlike other methods, this method sizes text according to the default
size in the browser's preferences menu. I have yet to find a (reasonably
modern) browser that does not recognize these units. My thinking is
this: most users probably have the default font size in their browser
set to a comfortable level, so all I need to do is size the text
relative to their default. And, if they don't have their browser prefs
set up, this method does respond to resizing.

Is this a good strategy? If not, why? Are there any reasonably popular
browser/OS combinations that don't play well with this strategy?

--------------------- End of message text --------------------

This e-mail is sent by the above named in their
individual, non-business capacity and is not on
behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

PricewaterhouseCoopers may monitor outgoing and incoming
e-mails and other telecommunications on its e-mail and
telecommunications systems.
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to
which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged
material.  Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or
taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or
entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited.   If you received
this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from any

More information about the thelist mailing list