javascript fonts

Detecting Installed Fonts

I did a fair amount of googling on this one.  My original need for this was to see what fonts PhantomJS supported for screenshots.  The task of figuring out what fonts are available, and actually worked was a bit a pain.  It’s a clever trick to measure pixel size of what the text should be if the font is installed and rendered properly.


// Usage
window.onload = function() {
    var detective = new Detector();


 * JavaScript code to detect available availability of a
 * particular font in a browser using JavaScript and CSS.
 * Author : Lalit Patel
 * Website:
 * License: Apache Software License 2.0
 * Version: 0.15 (21 Sep 2009)
 *          Changed comparision font to default from sans-default-default,
 *          as in FF3.0 font of child element didnt fallback
 *          to parent element if the font is missing.
 * Version: 0.2 (04 Mar 2012)
 *          Comparing font against all the 3 generic font families ie,
 *          "monospace", "sans-serif" and "sans". If it doesn't match all 3
 *          then that font is 100% not available in the system
 * Version: 0.3 (24 Mar 2012)
 *          Replaced sans with serif in the list of baseFonts

 * Usage: d = new Detector();
 *        d.detect("font name");
var Detector = function() {
    // a font will be compared against all the three default fonts.
    // and if it doesn't match all 3 then that font is not available.
    var baseFonts = ["monospace", "sans-serif", "serif"];

    //we use m or w because these two characters take up the maximum width.
    // And we use a LLi so that the same matching fonts can get separated
    var testString = "mmmmmmmmmmlli";

    //we test using 72px font size, we may use any size. I guess larger the better.
    var testSize = "72px";

    var h = document.getElementsByTagName("body")[0];

    // create a SPAN in the document to get the width of the text we use to test
    var s = document.createElement("span"); = testSize;
    s.innerHTML = testString;
    var defaultWidth = {};
    var defaultHeight = {};
    for (var index in baseFonts) {
        //get the default width for the three base fonts = baseFonts[index];
        defaultWidth[baseFonts[index]] = s.offsetWidth; //width for the default font
        defaultHeight[baseFonts[index]] = s.offsetHeight; //height for the defualt font

    function detect(font) {
        var detected = false;
        for (var index in baseFonts) {
   = font + ',' + baseFonts[index]; // name of the font along with the base font for fallback.
            var matched = (s.offsetWidth != defaultWidth[baseFonts[index]] || s.offsetHeight != defaultHeight[baseFonts[index]]);
            detected = detected || matched;
        return detected;

    this.detect = detect;


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