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CSS Fonts

The CSS font properties define the font family, boldness, size, and the style of a text.

Difference Between Serif and Sans-serif Fonts

Serif vs. Sans-serif

CSS Font Families

In CSS, there are two types of font family names:

  • generic family - a group of font families with a similar look (like "Serif" or "Monospace")
  • font family - a specific font family (like "Times New Roman" or "Arial")
Generic family Font family Description
Serif Times New Roman
Serif fonts have small lines at the ends on some characters
Sans-serif Arial
"Sans" means without - these fonts do not have the lines at the ends of characters
Monospace Courier New
Lucida Console
All monospace characters have the same width

Note: On computer screens, sans-serif fonts are considered easier to read than serif fonts.

Font Family

The font family of a text is set with the font-family property.

The font-family property should hold several font names as a "fallback" system. If the browser does not support the first font, it tries the next font, and so on.

Start with the font you want, and end with a generic family, to let the browser pick a similar font in the generic family, if no other fonts are available.

Note: If the name of a font family is more than one word, it must be in quotation marks, like: "Times New Roman".

More than one font family is specified in a comma-separated list:


Specify the font for three paragraphs:

.serif {
  font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif;

.sansserif {
  font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif ;

.monospace {
  font-family: "Lucida Console", Courier, monospace;


Specify the "Impact" font for a paragraph:

p.impact {
  font-family: Impact, Charcoal, sans-serif;

For commonly used font combinations, look at our Web Safe Font Combinations.