Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Tale of Four Fonts

This post is a rant.

This is driving me nuts. I'm struggling to find a font in OpenOffice that is consistent size across Windows, Linux, and OS X. Not only do they not all have the same selection of fonts (they don't even all have Helvetica or Georgia!), but the same font appears differently on all of them. Here are some screenshots using Times New Roman, bold, 11 point.

1. Windows

2. Linux

3. OS X using the X11 OpenOffice

4. OS X using NeoOffice

4 comments:

Andreas said...

Well, the Mac fonts look nicest. Perhaps all layout should be done on the mac and then bitmaps of the forms could be underlayed for the other platforms.

Is the positioning of the form elements absolute, rather than within some kind of layout container?

Matthew Harrison said...

Bitmaps seem like an ugly solution. I settled on using a mix of Times New Roman, 9, 10, and 11 pt fonts. It looks quite nice on OS X and Linux, but it's a little small on Windows and NeoOffice. Still quite usable though, I think. It should work out pretty well.

As to the positioning of form elements: yes to both. You can treat them as characters and throw them in a table cell one after another and anchor them to the paragraph, or you can anchor them absolutely to the page, or group them together in containers.

Kaj Kandler said...

Different Fonts are and issue when creating cross platform documents. I would not inist so much as to "looks the same" or "looks nice". However I'd look into metrically identical fonts, that at least leave the page breaks intact.

I don't know if you could install your own fonts on the system with an extension. Also of interest to you might be the ability to get the new MS Vista fonts (the C-Fonts) legally and for free.

Shaun McDonald said...

What happens if you copy, a font from say Linux to all the other platforms?

Do all the OSes then look the same.