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More on SCREEN FONTS: Antialiasing | Bitmap Fonts



A computer screen displays fonts in pixels (picture elements). Type on the Web can be specified in numerous different units of measurement, including points, pixels, or ems, a size equal to the width of the cap height of a typeface set in a given size. While the Mac OS displays 72 pixels per inch, the default for PCs is 96. However, neither number is reliable, since users can alter their default settings.

Special thanks to readers Luke Andrews and Mikol Graves for preparing this information on screen sizes. Posted 11.09.04





To guarantee uniform presentation across platforms, some Mac web browsers such as Safari, Firefox, Mozilla and Internet Explorer assume the display is 96 pixels per inch. They differ, however, in how they round off fractions when converting point values to pixels, so beware.

Web designers can specify type sizes in percentages of an em. An em is the width of the cap height. Ems can be used in CSS (cascading style sheets) to create typographic systems that enable users to adjust overall type size while retaining the relationships within the system.