For online reading, sans-serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Verdana) are generally considered more legible than serif fonts (Times New Roman), narrow fonts or decorative fonts. Decorative and narrow fonts in particular should be reserved for headlines and decorative texts only.
Note: If a document is meant primarily to be printed, other font options can be used.
Below is a list of recommended fonts with notes on the legibility of each. Fonts are available on both PC and Mac unless otherwise specified.
Note: For detailed notes on what enhances legibility, see the Fonts for the Web page.
|Verdana||Designed for monitors by Microsoft. Many sites on accessibility use Verdana.|
|Lucida Sans (PC)/
Lucida Grande (Mac)
|Relatively new font. Used as a Mac system font.|
|Tahoma||Available from Microsoft|
|Georgia||Serif. Designed for monitors by Microsoft.|
Palatino Linotype (PC)/
Book Antiqua (PC)
|Serif. Traditional print font. Weight can be light.|
|Andika||A free sans-serif font from SIL designed for beginning readers with clear letter forms and foreign language support. May also be suitable for readers with some reading disorders. Get Andika.|
|Helvetica||Traditional print font. Available on Mac, Unix and newer versions of Windows. Some letterforms can be confused.|
|Arial||A Windows analogue to Helvetica. Some typographers prefer Helvetica, but the two are generally similar.|
|Calibri||Released by Windows for Office 2007/Windows Vista. Good distinctions among most characters, but x-height is not especially large.|
|Trebuchet MS||Available from Microsoft. Good x-height, but some letterforms (e.g. "g" and &") considered too unusual for some readers, especially if literacy is an issue.|
|Century Gothic||Sans-serif, somewhat Art Deco. Good x-height, but some letters can be confused. Weight is light.|
|Bookman Old Style||Available from Microsoft. Traditional serif font designed for legibility. Good x-height, but may not be on all computers.|
|Cambria||Released by Windows for Office 2007/Windows Vista. Good distinctions among most characters, and large x-height. Width slghtly narrower than some fonts.|
|Candara||Released by Windows for Office 2007/Windows Vista. Similar to Optima font with some serif features.|
|Garamond||Available from Microsoft. Traditional font, but x-height relatively small and weight is light.|
|Times New Roman||Serif. Relatively small x-height, but succeeds with regard to legibility.|
|Comic Sans||Considered legible by some, but also criticized as being "childlike." May be appropriate for sites with younger audiences.|
|Arial Black||Available from Microsoft. Very heavy.|
|Arial Narrow||A narrow font that is probably too compressed for body text.|
|Haettenschweiler, Impact||Available from Microsoft. Very narrow and heavy.|
|Harrington||Available from Microsoft. letterforms are very ornate, which can slow down reading speeds.|
|Monotype Corsiva||A cursive-style font. Italic-type slant can slow down reading.|
See the Fonts for the Web page to learn more about the typographic features used to evaluate a legible font.