Although I have a Windows system, I am not basically a Windows user, and do all my stuff on Linux.

Are Windows users really used to Arial? I mean, it's really thin and rough looking when compared to similar looking sans-serif fonts on other operating systems (say, FreeSans and Helvetica) — especially on Chrome, and older versions of Internet Explorer (< v9) on Windows, Arial looks horrible — at least to a non-Windows users like me. So, are Windows users used to this?

I am not trying to take a jab at Arial or Windows. The problem is, I am unable to decide on a sans-serif font stack that looks reasonably okay on all platforms (Windows, Mac & *nix) at a font-size of 16px.

I currently use this:

font: 16px/1.4em Arial, sans-serif;

And the text looks awesome on Linux and Mac platforms — but not so good on Windows.

I have also tried adding "Calibri" (a Windows font), but it's looks like a 13px font at 16px (I mean, the whole point of setting a font-size of 16px is to improve legibility and lessen eye strain).

This question is solely about user experience. What font-stack would you suggest? or should I go with what I am currently using?

I would love some input from Windows users.


I'm a Windows user.

  1. On Windows XP and LCD monitors, fonts look like junk unless you use the ClearType plugin. But for the most part, Arial is "blah."
  2. You mentioned "cross-platform." If this is a Web app and truly cross-platform, have you considered using Google Web Fonts? http://www.google.com/webfonts . I think Questrial looks quite nice on Windows (Win 7).
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  • "Questrial" doesn't come with bold and italic styles, and when the browser does it, it's not really nice. :) But all I needed was an opinion from a Windows user, so, thanks for that. – its_me May 30 '12 at 14:24

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