I am seeing the following "oddity" with IE7-10 on Windows Vista, 7, 8:

When declaring font-family: serif; I am seeing an old bitmapped serif font that I can't identify (see screenshot below) instead of the expected font Times New Roman. I know it's an old bitmapped font because it displays aliased, without any font smoothing, with IE7-10 on Win Vista-8 (just like Courier on every version of Win).


Screenshot 1

I would like to know (1) can anyone else confirm my research and (2) BONUS: which font is IE displaying?

Notes: IE6 and IE7 on Win XP displays Times New Roman, as they should. It doesn't matter if font-family: serif; is declared in an external stylesheet or inline on the element. Quoting the CSS attribute makes no difference. Adding "Unkown Font" to the stack also makes no difference.

New Screenshot: The answer from Jukka below is correct. Here is a new screenshot with Batang (not BatangChe) to illustrate. Hope this helps someone.

Screenshot 2

1 Answer 1


I can confirm the observation, using IE 9 on Win 7. Checking in the IE settings (Tools → Internet settings → General → Fonts), I can see BatangChe mentioned as the font under “user defined” for normal text, and the font used for serif looks like Batang Che but has different spacing. And setting fonts there does not seem to change this. I guess they only matter if the author does not set font family at all, even generically.

Looks like the font is Batang. I suppose there is no way to change this (i.e. the mapping of serif to a specific font). So the practical conclusion is that using serif as a fallback font isn’t a good idea. Or at least you should put some fonts like Times New Roman and Georgia before it, so that IE will use one of them instead of falling to Batang.

  • +1 I also confirm the observation using IE8 on Win Vista. The font used is "Batang". However, I don't see how this relates to the "User Defined" language setting where "BatangChe" is defined as the "Plain Text" font. BatangChe is quite different to Batang in more ways that just spacing.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 12:40
  • I agree with your conclusion that using serif as a fallback without Times New Roman or Georgia is not a good idea. Thanks for the help.
    – Jeff
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 13:04
  • I'd be interested to know if you're setting a language on the page where you're seeing Batang, and if not, does it make a difference? (e.g. <html lang="en"> or in php header('Content-language: en');) Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 15:31
  • @OllyHodgson, I tested with a few lang attributes, and also without any, with the same result (Batang). Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 15:54
  • @OllyHodgson, Yep, <html lang="en">.
    – Jeff
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 21:41

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