W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > February 2003

Re: font sizes

From: Felix Miata <mrmazda@ij.net>
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 19:46:57 -0500
Message-ID: <3E581A01.4E41@ij.net>
To: todd fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
CC: www-style@w3.org

todd fahrner wrote on Fri, 21 Feb 2003 12:37:10 -0500 (EST):

> Note that current versions of Explorer correctly map "medium" to the
> default/user size when in "strict" rendering mode (DOCTYPE-sniffed at
> the moment).

You didn't actually write what you meant to write above, did you? I
can't find any evidence of the above in comparing 4.01 transitional to
4.01 strict in IE6. Is IE for Mac different? Depending on which DPI is
set in windoze, medium in IE6 is always a fixed pixel value, independent
of doctype, or screen resolution for that matter. This value is one of
the following (for non-custom DPI settings): 72DPI=13; 96DPI=16;
120DPI=20; 144DPI=24; & 192DPI=32.

I tabled all possible combinations of non-custom DPI and text size
setting for IE6 at
http://members.ij.net/mrmazda/auth/absolute-sizes-IE6.html and
http://members.ij.net/mrmazda/auth/absolute-sizes-MvE.html, where you
can find e.g. medium for 120DPI at
http://members.ij.net/mrmazda/auth/ie/font-default-IE120med.html, which
is 4.01 transitional. Compare to
which except for some removed illegal-in-4.01-strict markup, looks and
is the same page using 4.01 strict.

> Realizing the shortcomings of the sample sheet's account, and upon
> studying early CSS implementations with horror, I revisited the subject
> in 1999, and wrote this:
> <http://style.cleverchimp.com/font_size_intervals/altintervals.html>,

I spent considerable time studying that, and later filed a Mozilla bug
asking for tweaking of the smaller absolute-size values at

> which I think speaks to your remaining questions. The font-size: .75em
> = xx-small = h6 cases [should?] obtain when the base or user size is
> small enough that application of the .6 factor would result in text
> below a theoretical legibility threshold, typically 9px for bicameral
> character sets.

You can see at
http://members.ij.net/mrmazda/auth/absolute-sizes-IE6.html IE6 will
render xx-small at as small as 4px, and H6 at as small as 8px.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have
for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
                                                Benjamin Franklin

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409

Felix Miata  ***  http://members.ij.net/mrmazda/auth/auth.html
Received on Saturday, 22 February 2003 19:51:49 UTC

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