| When designing your page, do
so as usual first, leaving the <FONT FACE> out of it.
After the page is designed and you've selected the font you want to use,
choose the alternates you'll also be including in the tags. If a person doesn't
have your chosen font installed, alternates provide additional chances that
they might have something similar -- or at least something nicer than Times
New Roman. Preview your page from your last alternates first, such as
<FONT FACE="Arial, Helvetica"> (which accounts for both
Win and Mac platforms). You've already seen the page in Times New Roman as
you prepared it, so viewing these alternates will show you how the "last
chance" will appear. If that seems satisfactory, add the next alternate to
your tags. This would be your "middle" choice, such as <FONT
FACE="Squire, Arial, Helvetica">. Preview it again.
Now add your chosen face to complete the tags, such as <FONT FACE="FeatherLight, Squire, Arial, Helvetica">, and preview the page from the 4.0+ versions of both Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Explorer before you place the page onto the Web. This step-by-step process is a minimum ideal and may not be possible for all persons to follow through with all the time, but if you can, it will help assure you that your page will appear decently, even if your primary font selection is not installed on a visitor's system.
Another preview check
that I consider part of the minimum ideal is to load the finished page
into a fonts-incapable browser such as Netscape v.2.0 or Mosaic 3.0.
This can reveal many startling and unexpected aspects at times, but once
you're aware of them, you can format your page such that it works around
the little "surprises."
At least one thing you
won't need to worry about is case. Font names seem to be case-insensitive;
i.e.: "comic sans ms" appears to be equal to "Comic Sans MS" or "COMIC SANS
MS." Spaces, however, do count and must be included for your font
to be accessed properly. "ComicSansMS" or "ComicSans MS" will not
deliver the effect you want in all supporting browsers.
Has the font been referenced
properly? Many fonts have more than one "name" they may be known as, but
only a single name is going to help the browser locate it, and it's most
often not the TTF filename. When you look at your font
listings (for Win95 systems, usually in C:\Windows\Fonts) the common
name displayed in the list there may present a clue, but often isn't the
actual name. You'll need a font properties viewer that permits you to see
the name of the font itself, its copyright information and other comments
the author added. The actual "Font Name" is the one you want. For example,
Bitstream's contribution to the Web fonts category will list as "Geometric
Slabserif 703 Light BT" but browsers will locate the face by the font
name of "GeoSlab 703 Lt BT." There may be exceptions to this, but
I've had the best luck so far relying on the actual font name rather than
the listing name.
If none of these checks
solve the problem, move on. Choose a different face to work with. If you
really need that particular font for a particular heading, consider
a graphic version. There are just some fonts that, for one reason or another,
won't display on the Web. Some of them have obvious reasons, such
as having a comma or extended character in the font name. Why some others
won't display remains a mystery to me at this point. The good news, however,
is that there are many, many faces that work wonderfully and except for very
specialized styles, you can almost always find a suitable alternate for the
ones that don't.
Dreamfonts: Web Fonts Reference is a
Marking up the WorldWide Web since 1995.