Selecting fonts in Live Writer

When setting up a blog connection Windows Live Writer downloads the blog template. This specifies the fonts along with many other features. This does not mean that you have no choice of fonts, indeed, the Font group on the Home tab offers all the fonts installed on your computer.

imageYou can apply any font to the normal text and to the headings, but you cannot set the defaults. Live Writer reverts back to the blog template defaults – as it should. After all, you selected the design and appearance of your blog carefully and you want it to stay that way.

There are times when a different font is called for. As in other applications, like Word, for example, the font can be selected before text is typed or later by selecting the text and applying the new font. There is a problem with that. Your readers may have different machines and may not have the font installed that you have chosen. Their browser will make a font selection that might not fit with the image or mood you are trying to create.

image

Here is an illustration of that problem. The four snippets are from the same blog post as seen on different machines. The first shows the text as intended by the writer in a font called “Curlz”. This font is not common on computers and the browsers on two machines substituted common fonts. In one case a sans-serif (Arial style) in in the other a serif font (like Georgia). The fourth snippet is from an RSS feed in which the background color was dropped. I have seen unreadable text in RSS feeds because the original text was white or yellow on a dark background. With the background rendered white, white font disappears completely.

There are some fonts that are pretty well common to all computers. Or at least there are font families that are very similar and the stylistic differences are small. “Helvetica”, “Arial”, “Verdana”, “Calibri”, “sans-serif” will render close enough to each other that a substitution might not even be noticed. Same goes for “Times New Roman”, “Georgia”, and other “serif” fonts. The problem really comes in when you use very decorative fonts. If you are using a special font only for headings or very short text portions, the work-around I like is to insert that part as an image.

Let me illustrate:

Decorative Headings

image

Here the heading text is just a screen capture set with no frame. The image does not link to anything. As an image, it will appear the same in all browsers and even in RSS feeds.

When I do that, I also like to repeat the heading in normal text and style – just so the search engines will find the term.

Font sizes

You may notice that all the fonts on your computer are available in the font selection box, the same is not true for the font size selection. Only seven sizes are offered. Let me illustrate why. Here is a line with seven words each set in one of the offered sizes:

one two three four five six seven

Here is the HTML code produced by Live Writer for this line and on the right the font size choices.image

<p><font size=”1″>one</font>
<font size=”2″>two</font>
<font size=”3″>three</font>
<font size=”4″>four</font>
<font size=”5″>five</font>
<font size=”6″>six</font>
<font size=”7″>seven</font></p>

You can see that Live Writer uses font size numbers rather than the point or pixel size. What’s more, when no size is specified the font size is rendered in the design template default, in this example the size for this blog – Arial at 9.8 points.

Keep these peculiarities in mind and your blogging will be easier.

.:.

© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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  1. #1 by cvillecigars on August 4, 2012 - 6:35 pm

    This was good post, however I am trying my best to understand why Live Writer works for one of my blogs and not the new one I am doing for a business.
    The problem I am having is that the font drop down boxes drop down, you can select the font , in my case Georgia, then select the size, same thing, will drop down select the size and nothing, yet I can go over to my other blog and the size changes every time. Both blogs are done in Chateau Theme, both are WordPress blogs (wordpress.com) please any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • #2 by Ludwig on August 5, 2012 - 12:25 pm

      Live Writer works with the style sheets that control your theme. The font size selection may show font sizes, but the HTML code generated is just a size parameter. Take a look at the source. For font selection the font name is added as a parameter. How it is shown in Live Writer and how it will appear in the blog may be somewhat different. Even the Preview can be wrong under some conditions. Why Live Writer does not work the same for different blogs using the same theme might be that there was a theme update between the times when you updated the theme in Live Writer. Try updating the theme for both blogs.

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