I once saw a textbook that recommended a certain pica range for each of several various fonts. Is there any online guide that's available? What are my options? What should I know as a beginner?
You need to keep in mind that different operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) have different default fonts that come as part of the OS. This means if you choose a font that is available on Windows but not on a Mac or Linux those users will see a different font. That font will be the closest match the OS can choose. If you want your site to look uniform across platforms you'll need to choose fonts that are common to all three. Alternatively you can declare multiple fonts in your CSS in the order of preference you wish them to be used. Example:
In this example all
Another option is to use the new
Font sizes will depend on the font used. The general rule is not to use small fonts as many users will have too much difficulty reading it (basically small fonts are bad accessibility). Also many users like to adjust the font sizes displayed in the browser to make it easier for them to read. If you specify your font sizes using pixels (px) this makes your site harder to use. The general rule is to use empirical units (em) which is a scalable unit and will grow and shrink as the user adjusts their browser display.
I'm not really sure about the correct answer - but I've learnt that you can't measure in pica on a web site (even if CSS pretends to allow that). And I'm afraid you can't measure in anything, because if a user has a 22" monitor (resolution 1920x1080), the font size will be significantly smaller compared to a 24" monitor with the same resolution. - You can't determine the monitor size from the web page.
Moreover, it also depends enormously on the font: Verdana will appear a lot larger than e. g. Times New Roman.
Having said that, I'd like to see a good guideline, too!