A Cheatsheet for CSS @font-face Declarations

CSS @font-face is easy: just @import from Google Web Fonts or copy what you get from Font Squirrel, right? Not quite. If you’re hosting your own webfonts, cleaning up the default you get from a service like Font Squirrel, or just concerned about performance, you want more details than “just paste this line of code.” Here’s a list of the most important details you should know about CSS @font-face:

  1. .woff covers nearly everything
  2. .eot if you need to support IE8
  3. .ttf if you need to support old Androids
  4. .woff2 is gonna be great

Now that you’ve seen the short list, let’s look at those points in more detail.

.woff covers nearly everything

According to caniuse, we’ve got 83% global browser support for .woff files (86% in the US). That’s pretty good. If you’re viewing webfonts as a progressive enhancement, you’d probably have good reason to quit stop with just .woff files:

@font-face {
  font-family: 'SampleFont';
  src: url('sample_font') format('woff');
  font-style: normal;
  font-weight: normal;
}

.eot if you need to support IE8

An .eot file (embedded open type) is needed for IE<8 (and IE9 running in compatibility mode). This adds another 4% (7% US) to browser support, bringing our totals to 87% / 94%. Be sure to include it above the .woff. Notice we’re linking to the same file twice: the first declaration is for IE9 in compatiblity mode; the second (which is inline with the .woff declaration) is for IE6-8.

@font-face {
  font-family: 'SampleFont';
  src: url('sample_font.eot');
  src: url('sample_font.eot?#iefix') format('embedded-opentype'),
    url('sample_font.woff') format('woff');
  font-style: normal;
  font-weight: normal;
}

.ttf if you need to support old Androids

These older Android browsers support both .ttf & .svg fonts, so pick whichever you like best. No, I’m kidding. Just use .ttf. Very few (and very old) browsers render .svg fonts but not .ttf.

Supporting these browsers brings our total support to 90% global, 96% US.

@font-face {
  font-family: 'SampleFont';
  src: url('sample_font.eot');
  src: url('sample_font.eot?#iefix') format('embedded-opentype'),
    url('sample_font.woff') format('woff'),
    url('sample_font.ttf') format('truetype');
  font-style: normal;
  font-weight: normal;
}

.woff2 is gonna be great

Yep. We’re going to shave 20-30% off the filesize with .woff2. Right now Chrome & Opera are the only browsers actively supporting .woff2, but Firefox will be adding support behind a flag shortly.

Conclusion

The code above helps you include .woff, .eot, and .ttf files for your websites. That said, make your own decisions about how to “support” browsers on this issue. In my view at the moment, web fonts are a progressive enhancement. Sure, they make sites look fantastic, but we need to work hard at making sure they don’t block people from content.

Personally, I’m fine with serving only .woff fonts at this point. If a visitor is on any of the old browsers we discussed above, they’re used to sites looking less progressively enhanced. But if your project or organizational requirements are different, I hope this helps you.