HTML and CSS Reference
4.10. HTML's Obsolete Expanded Font Handling
In earlier versions of this topic, we rejoiced that HTML version 3.2 had
introduced a font-handling model for richer, more versatile text displays.
When HTML 4 deprecated these special font-handling tags, we nonethe-
less included them in the same prominent position within this chapter
because they were still part of the HTML 3.2 standard and were still very
popular with HTML authors, besides being well supported by all the pop-
ular browsers. We could not do the same for this edition of the topic.
Like many deprecated HTML tags and attributes, the expanded font-
handling tags of HTML 3.2 were here yesterday and are gone today. In-
ternet Explorer, the world's most popular browser, displays all of them;
other browsers display some, but not other font-related tags. Accord-
ingly, we include the Extended Font Model tags in this chapter, but at the
end of this chapter and with all the implicit red flags waving hard.
The W3C wants authors to use CSS, not acute tags and attributes, for
explicit control of the font styles, colors, and sizes of the text characters.
That's why these extended font tags and related attributes have fallen in-
to disfavor. It's now time for you to eschew the extended font tags, too.
4.10.1. The Extended Font Size Model
Instead of absolute point values, the Extended Font Model of HTML 3.2
uses a relative means for sizing fonts. Sizes range from 1, the smallest,
to 7, the largest; the default (base) font size is 3.
It is almost impossible to state reliably the actual font sizes used for the
various virtual sizes. Most browsers let the user change the physical font
size, and the default sizes vary from browser to browser. It may be help-
ful to know, however, that each virtual size is successively 20 percent
larger or smaller than the default font size, 3. Thus, font size 4 is 20 per-
cent larger, font size 5 is 40 percent larger, and so on, and font size 2 is
20 percent smaller and font size 1 is 40 percent smaller than font size 3.