Re: font sizes in ems: a clarification

Chris Wilson (PSD) wrote:
> Gayle, I don't understand what the problem you're seeing with IE4.0 pp2
> is. 

This discussion has drifted a bit from my original intent (as things
will do), so let me get back to my original problem:
The original page I posted had no BODY default size on purpose. The idea
was to force the browser to use the reader's default font size. This
neither ver4 browser appears to do at the moment. I tested this by
trying various fonts on the page and choosing to give them first an
absolute size of 10pt and then a relative size of 1em. My understanding
from the group discussion was that the relative size should be relative
to my user default. I can change my default size from now til Christmas
but it has no effect on the rendering of the lines spec'ed as 1em. So,

1) The idea that setting an initial font size in ems will respect the
user's default size and scale font sizes accordingly is fallacious, or

2) The browser makers have not seen fit (or clearly enough) to implement

(The third option, of course, is that I misunderstand the
specification.) I suspect the browsers are either using a browser
default setting rather than my reader's choice, or the size is relative
to the previous element rather than the parent element. In either case,
specing in ems appears useless.

There is the separate problem, discovered along the way (and
inadvertently complicated by the lack of inheritance in tables) of
whether an em size on any particular font renders the same as a point
size. On this,
1) MSIE appears to render an em the same size as a point. The glitch I
captured from David Perrell's demo, however, demonstrated that if you
change font size using the View/Fonts menu, it only affects the first
rendering (which was font-size: 1em) but does not scale the rest of the
page accordingly (i.e., font-size: 2em is relative to the original font
size but not the new resize). You'll have to revisit his demo to see

2) NS4 does not render an em the same size as a point, nor does it seem
to use the reader default. This led to my assumption that it was scaling
the font larger for an em and therefore one needed a scale-down factor
to spec in ems. This latter you can see with NS4 on a new, cleaned up
demo at:

I hope this helps clarify the problem as I see it.

Gayle Kidder

> As far as I can tell, we render this correctly - in fact, we render
> your first page correctly if you set the font-size explicitly on <BODY>
> _AND_ <TD>.  The first line (explicit 10pt) is the same size as the
> second (1em), as I believe it should be - and the third line (.9em,
> etc.) is smaller, as it should be.  These do not scale when you select a
> different default font size (I don't believe they should).  Am I missing
> something?