serif font in WebHelp doesn't print out consistently

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serif font in WebHelp doesn't print out consistently

Postby bonnie on Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:28 pm

I'm using the serif font for the body text of my WebHelp. What's baffling me is that when I print out the WebHelp from the Firefox browser, different fonts are being used for the serif font in different paragraph tags. And this occurs within the same file.

Specifically, I have a <p> class that uses the serif font. And I have a <dd> class that uses the serif font. The fonts for the two different classes look the same on screen in the WebHelp browser, but they print out differently. The <p> font prints out in Palatino, and the <dd> font prints out in Times. Why would that be?

I have checked and rechecked the settings in the stylesheet and they are the same.

I DO use Palatino as the font in the print medium for this project (which I use for building a FrameMaker target). But I am using Palatino for both the <p> class and the <dd> class in the print medium. So....???

(I mention this about the print medium, because it seems to me that the print medium is determining, for the most part, how the WebHelp prints out from my build machine.)

Can anyone help me figure out what is going on?

This may seem like a minor problem, but I have a huge project to complete, and I want to get my understanding of Flare control straight before I bring in a whole gob of content to contend with.

Thanks to anyone who can provide some insight into this.
Bonnie
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Re: serif font in WebHelp doesn't print out consistently

Postby LTinker68 on Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:16 pm

Do you actually have the font set to "Palatino", or did you set it to "serif"? If it's just set to "serif" then it could be the printer has different internal definitions of what types of fonts to use with certain tags. I don't know if printers are set to actually do that, though.

The easiest thing to do might be to open the stylesheet in the Internal Text Editor or something similar and do a search on the word "font". You'll be able to see exactly what fonts you have specified. It may be that you thought you were setting Paladino as the font in the print medium but instead were setting it for the default medium.

In fact, unless you want a mix of fonts in your output, you should only specify the font (better yet, font family), in two locations -- the <body> tag for the default medium and the <body> tag for the print medium. All other styles will use the font specified in the <body> tag. I recommend you make a copy of your stylesheet, then go through the original and strip out all font references but the two I mentioned. See if that helps.

And make sure you delete the output folder or clean it out before rebuilding the output -- just to make sure it grabs the latest stylesheet when it compiles the project.

BTW, I don't recommend specifying Palatino as your font -- it's not a standard PC font so a lot of your users may not have it, which could screw up the output on their machines. If you really want to go with it, then specify a font family instead (e.g., Palatino, "Times New Roman", serif) so that if the user doesn't have Palatino, then it has a font specified as a backup.
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Re: serif font in WebHelp doesn't print out consistently

Postby KevinDAmery on Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:11 pm

I'm also not a big fan of using "serif" as the only font description, simply because you can't be sure what the default serif font is on a given system. As Lisa alluded to at the end of her post, you're better off to define a font family that specifies which font to use. I'd put Serif as the last font in the family--that way, it will choose the default serif font as the font of last resort. Before it in the family, choose the fonts you would prefer to use.

In case you're not familiar with font families, here's how mine is defined in my stylesheet:

Code: Select all
   font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;


Obviously I'm using sans-serif fonts instead of serifs, so you would have to swap in appropriate serif fonts. The way it works is, if the system has the first font in the list, it uses that, so in my case it tries to use Verdana which should be present on all modern Windows systems; if Verdana isn't present, (such as older Windows systems) it tries to use the second font (Arial); if neither is present (such as if the system is a Mac) it will try to use the third font (Helvetica); and if none of those are present, it finally says "ok, what sans-serif font do you have?"

As long as the first two / three fonts you choose are commonly available, you should never end up in a situation where the system is having to choose a font on its own.
Until next time....
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Re: serif font in WebHelp doesn't print out consistently

Postby bonnie on Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:20 pm

The easiest thing to do might be to open the stylesheet in the Internal Text Editor or something similar and do a search on the word "font". You'll be able to see exactly what fonts you have specified. It may be that you thought you were setting Paladino as the font in the print medium but instead were setting it for the default medium.


What I discovered is that although the Stylesheet Editor was showing me that Palatino was specified as the font-family for the dd class I had defined for the print medium, when I opened the stylesheet in the Internal Text Editor, I found that the dd.class defined under print medium did NOT have a font-family specified, contrary to what I was seeing in the Stylesheet Editor. Once I edited the stylesheet directly in the Internal Text Editor to specify the font-family for the dd class, then the WebHelp printed out with that dd class in Palatino.

In fact, unless you want a mix of fonts in your output, you should only specify the font (better yet, font family), in two locations -- the <body> tag for the default medium and the <body> tag for the print medium. All other styles will use the font specified in the <body> tag. I recommend you make a copy of your stylesheet, then go through the original and strip out all font references but the two I mentioned. See if that helps.


Thank you for that suggestion! That will save me a lot of aggravation I'm sure! I've been trying to figure out what the best practices are when it comes to slimming down the stylesheet, and I can see this is one of them.

BTW, I don't recommend specifying Palatino as your font -- it's not a standard PC font so a lot of your users may not have it, which could screw up the output on their machines. If you really want to go with it, then specify a font family instead (e.g., Palatino, "Times New Roman", serif) so that if the user doesn't have Palatino, then it has a font specified as a backup.


I'm using Palatino for my FrameMaker target output only, which will be delivered to my users in PDF or in hardcopy. so that will not be a problem for my users. But, now since I see that the print medium affects how the WebHelp prints out as well, I will specify the print medium as you have stated above (Palatino, "Times New Roman", serif). Do I need the quotes around Times New Roman?

Thank you for your help. And for your really quick response. I certainly appreciate it.
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Re: serif font in WebHelp doesn't print out consistently

Postby LTinker68 on Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:41 pm

bonnie wrote:I'm using Palatino for my FrameMaker target output only, which will be delivered to my users in PDF or in hardcopy.

I don't have Framemaker so I can't output directly to PDF (have to go through Word), but make sure you have your Framemaker PDF configuration set to embed the Palatino font, otherwise the electronic PDF version might still give the user the same problem if they don't have that font.

bonnie wrote:Do I need the quotes around Times New Roman?

Flare should do that automatically for you if you select it from the Stylesheet Editor, but if you're doing it manually, then yes, put quotes around any font names that have more than one word in them.
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