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Beginning with OS X 10.0 Cheetah, and assuming they are the same through the current release 10.8 Mountain Lion, what are the default fonts rendered for the following font-families?

  • font-family: serif;
  • font-family: sans-serif;
  • font-family: monospace;
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I would have thought it would be... "What are the default fonts for [insert browser here]", rather than the OS per se? –  w3d Aug 24 '12 at 12:06
    
Nope, the OS is responsible for supplying the default fonts. In one case that I've tested, Firefox > 10 will render Courier New in place of Courier on Windows Systems -- probably because Courier is an old bitmap font which refuses to anti-alias. –  Jeff Aug 24 '12 at 12:32
    
I should clarify my reply above. The browser most definitely has an option to choose which font it uses as a default, depending upon the OS it's installed on. –  Jeff Aug 24 '12 at 13:21
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The default fonts for WebKit/Safari under Mac OS X are as follows:

  • Monospace -> Courier
  • Sans-serif -> Helvetica
  • Serif -> Times
  • Standard (default) -> Times

This is gleaned directly from the WebKit source, specifically the XML/plist file at Source/WebCore/Resources/DefaultFont.plist.in that's available online here. It includes the following lines:

<dict>
  <key>monospace</key>
  <string>Courier</string>
  <key>standard</key>
  <string>Times</string>
  <key>sans-serif</key>
  <string>Helvetica</string>
  <key>serif</key>
  <string>Times</string>
</dict>

The same file also includes the default monospace, sans-serif, and serif fonts for Korean, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese, if those are of any interest to you.

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Beeeeeyoutiful! Thanks for taking the time! –  Jeff Aug 24 '12 at 14:11
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