Font Shorthand


body {
  font: font-style font-variant font-weight font-size/line-height font-family;

In Use

body {
  font: italic small-caps normal 13px/150% Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;

You need to supply at least font-size and font-family for the shorthand to work, otherwise it'll just be a syntax error and do nothing.

body {
  font: italic 20px Serif; /* works */
  font: 20px; /* fails */
  font: 18em Fantasy; /* works */
  font: bold small-caps; /* fails */

Watch out for accidental resets when using the shorthand.


  1. Ryan Hamilton
    Permalink to comment#

    Ah, so that’s why I wasn’t able to specify the size of fonts using font:! I’ve always just had to use font-size:.


  2. Louis
    Permalink to comment#

    In addition to the URL linked in the post, I have a cheat sheet for helping understand font shorthand:

  3. Casey Dennison
    Permalink to comment#

    Sorry, Louis. I cannot understand you’re cheat sheet.

  4. Why

    Why on earth would you have Arial before Helvetica

  5. Michael Moriarty
    Permalink to comment#

    So when we do a CSS reset, is the any reason to not use the font shorthand to initialize html, for example?
    eg. html {font:100%/125% Verdana,Arial,sans-serif}

    • Michael Moriarty
      Permalink to comment#

      …or even nicer maybe:

      html { font: 100%/1.25 Verdana, Arial, sans-serif }

  6. Rowe Morehouse
    Permalink to comment#

    I think you’re missing font-stretch in your shorthand declaration example.

    see here:

    the shorthand defaults to 4 normals up front like this:

    font: normal normal normal normal 13px/19px sans-serif;

    longhand would be:

    font-style: normal;
    font-variant: normal;
    font-weight: normal;
    font-stretch: normal;
    font-size: 13px;
    line-height: 19px;
    font-family: sans-serif;

    • Michael
      Permalink to comment#

      That defeats he purpose of using the SHORTHAND. Since you are setting those values to ‘normal’ anyway, why not just use font: 13px/19px sans-serif; ? Who uses px’s for line-height?

  7. Michael Moriarty
    Permalink to comment#

    The CSS property font-stretch was initially defined in CSS 2, but dropped in CSS 2.1 due to lack of implementation experience. It has been newly defined in CSS 3.

    Browser compatibility
    Desktop Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari (WebKit)
    Basic support 48.0 9.0 (9.0) 9.0 35.0 No support

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