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How to choose the right fonts for your Web site

If you're neither a designer nor a coder, it can be hard to pick the right font and make it work for your Web site. Typetester is a great, free Web service that lets you check the appearance of various fonts and type features, then copy and paste the code into your site.

If you're putting up your own Web site, you've got nearly infinite options, but that's actually a problem for those who aren't trained in Web design. Even something as theoretically simple as font selection can leave you gasping for breath as you deal with too many choices. It may be easier to use a template or hire a designer, but if you want to make the process easier on yourself, check out Typetester. It's a simple, free Web service that lets you compare fonts as they appear on screen. Here's how to use it: 

  1. Point your browser at Typetester.
  2. You should see sample text in a box in the upper right. Feel free to change this if you want to use a sample from your site. 
  3. There are three columns for easy side-by-side comparison. Use the drop-down menus to choose either from the lists of Windows, Mac, and Google fonts in the first menu or those installed on your own machine in the second menu. Click the "step by step" tab in the upper right for more guidance. 
    Step 3: Choose fonts and settings for comparison.
    Step 3: Choose fonts and settings for comparison. (click to enlarge) Rob Lightner
  4. Scroll down to compare fonts using regular, bold, italics, and more. 
  5. When you've found the font that's right for your needs, just click the tools tab in the upper right, then click the right link next to Get CSS for: 
    Step 5: Get CSS.
    Step 5: Get CSS. Rob Lightner
  6. A pop-up window should open with a CSS code snippet. Copy and paste it into your site's code, overwriting the section beginning "font-family," if it exists. 
    Step 6: Copy and paste CSS code.
    Step 6: Copy and paste CSS code.

That's it! Typetester is a great tool for designers, too, but I think those of us without training may get more out of it.