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Re: Arial vs. Helvetica.

On Wed, 02 Aug 2017 06:26:13 -0700
peter@easthope.ca wrote:

> I want to specify a variable pitch font in a wiki. The font should be 
> widely available and acceptable to commonly used browsers.  
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arial explains, "It [Arial] was created 
> to be metrically identical to the popular typeface Helvetica, with
> all character widths identical, so that a document designed in
> Helvetica could be displayed and printed correctly without having to
> pay for a Helvetica license."  That suggests that Arial is a good
> choice. Conversely, font substitution appears to be handled well in
> many contexts and licensing might no longer be a concern.
> What is the conclusion.  Should I specify, Arial or Helvetica or 
> something else?

Does your wiki software require one specific named font, without
allowing you to tweak the CSS for it if you wish? Does it not have a
'sans-serif' value available, which will call for a browser to use its
default sans-serif font? 

If you can customise the CSS for the text elements, you can specify
multiple font families in order of preference 

e.g.   font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif;

Incidentally, serifs were invented to make blocks of text easier to
read, so Times or similar would be a better choice for paragraphs, with
a sans-serif font more suited to bold headings. Newspaper sites (not
surprisingly including The Times) use serif fonts.


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