What do you do when someone whines to you that your documents look like music sheets?

When communicating over the internet, your fonts may not appear the same at the other end. The best solution is not to use a font at all. Better than best, you can choose to selectively piss off a section of the receiving public. Here are six communication workarounds for sending content over the internet:

1. Insert content in the body of email as plain text (font-less) messages. You can still format with creative use of blank lines and indents. Boring. But it always works. Always, that is, unless you can’t find the plain text button. If there is a button. If successful, you might say, hey, when I do that I lose all my formatting and the document is hard to read. But at least you know what the person on the receiving end is also seeing, so spice it up with some periods and blank lines and some smiley faces :)

2. (Better than best). Insert content in the body of email as rich text (also called html; NOT the same as RTF) messages. These provide for minimal formatting using bold, italics, and some colors, and you can insert pictures. This isn’t exactly breathtaking, but it works 95% of the time. When it fails, it comes through mixed with gibberish, but is still readable. Have you ever seen this?

<html><div style=’background-color:’><DIV>
<DIV>Dear Manuel,</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;&nbsp; I found your company on the internet and wonder if you would be interested in my resume.&nbsp; <font size=”+2″ face=”Brownose”><strong>I would be forever thankful!</strong></font></DIV>

3. If you would like to communicate using document attachments you will run up against non-conformists. These come in two types, blithely ignorant and stubbornly archaic. Most computer fonts are trademarked so when emailing documents, stick with a common, ugly, generic font. There is really no way of knowing what font the other person has any more than you could know what they are wearing (or not).

Here are some common fonts. Some of them are only ugly when converted on other computers. That way you will be spared knowing the pity others feel about your lack of style and character.

Sans-serif; Verdana; Arial (MS) or Helvetica (Mac); MS Sans Serif (MS) or Geneva (Mac)
Serif; Georgia; Times New Roman (MS) or Times (Mac)
Or use a font you downloaded from the public domain like Bitsream Vera. Then you can piss off Mac and PC users at the same time.
Here is the web page showing all the substitutes: http://www.ampsoft.net/webdesign-l/WindowsMacFonts.html

By using common fonts, the receiver’s computer has a good chance of being able to find that font or substitute a close second. Just remember this, the document does not actually contain the fonts, only instructions to find them on the computer and substitute whatever it finds for the characters in the text.

4. Convert the document into a pdf. An rtf won’t solve the problem, so consider sending as a wtf.

5. When someone whines to you that your documents look like music sheets or that they couldn’t open a document, tell them that you accidentally attached the native (use that word) document. Tell them that you no longer have the original because you had to return your laptop (use that word) to your brother who is a stevedore in San Diego. Then, humbly suggest they might be able to get a copy of the document from someone else. If the person persists in asking for the original, drop subtle hints to imply your brother is an undercover investigator in an internet Ponzi scheme, and drop the subject for good.

I am surprised my computer substituted musical notes for Helvetica Neue. Maybe it is an intentional Windows annoyance meant to convey the idea that other computer users are lefties, musicians or suspicious Canadians.

6. Put the document on your blog and send them a link to your facebook profile, or if you were born after 1980, on your myspace profile.

Posted in Uncategorized, Web Works | 1 Comment

One Response to What-the-font

  1. georgesand says:

    I think this whole trademarked font thing is a scam

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