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Why are fonts appearing as dingbats?
In any Firefox browser window that includes account-based content, such as an email newsletter building web app like MyEmma, or a domain hosting account page, much of the content shows up as dingbats instead of in the specified font (Times, Arial, etc.). I tried to upload a screen shot, but Firefox just kept spinning without success when it came to my 270kb jpg file.
I checked my font management software (Suitcase Fusion 5), two other browsers (Chrome and Safari) and my fonts, but I have not found any issues. The only other culprit I might identify as far as a potential cause is a recent update I made to my Mac OS, from Mountain Lion to Mavericks. But, no seeing any related questions here in the community forum, I have exhausted all the troubleshooting directions I can think of, and can't seem to figure out myself how to fix this debilitating font issue. Any ideas?
All Replies (15)
Sorry about the upload failing. You can reply to yourself and upload the image using the Browse... button below the text box:
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You can check for corrupted and duplicate fonts and other font issues.
- Font problems:
Hi MeridithBP, It sounds like the setting to override the web sites fonts may have been changed. Have you already tried:
- Opening up preferences > Content > under "Fonts and Colors" click on advanced
- The option "Allow pages to choose their own fonts, instead of my selections above" should be checked
Did this help?
Thanks for the link, Cor-el. If only I could read what the page says! Please see attached screen shot, which I got to work using your suggestion JScher2000 - thanks!
I'm going to try Cor-el's link in another browser like Chrome or Safari to see if fonts are, indeed, my issue.
Hi Guigs -
I did already check through all the prefs in Firefox, and they were all set correctly. Other things I tried that did not help:
- turning off hardware acceleration
- turning off all add-ons/extensions
I did also run Font Doctor twice, and it found no corrupt fonts .
Plus, I did a manual check of active fonts in Suitcase Fusion AND in Font Book, and all system fonts such as Times, Arial, Verdana, Georgia etc. appear to be properly protected behind lock and key. This fact is borne out by the behavior of Chrome and Safari which demonstrate no font display problems at all.
If you use Firefox's Inspector feature, can you see whether an unexpected font is being used in these cases? You can right-click or Ctrl+click the text, and then choose Inspect Element (Q) from the context menu. Firefox should open the Inspector in the lower part of the tab. Usually the right side shows the style rules. You can click the little Fonts heading to check the font actually in use. Sample screen shots attached.
I had been using FireBug to try and gauge that same bit of information. Neither FireBug nor Firefox Inspector return any unexpected results. If a CSS font-family is listed as Verdana, Geneva, etc. the font in use is, indeed, Verdana, etc.
That is, I had used FireBug BEFORE I shut off my add-ons. I am now reminded that I need to turn it back on ; )
For Windows users, I would suggest a "clean reinstall" which involves removing the Firefox program folder before reinstalling, but does not disturb the Firefox profile folder which contains your settings. That often resolves inexplicable program breakage when an update fails to completely replace older version files.
I'm not clear on whether that procedure is applicable to Mac, since the way programs install on Mac seems quite different.
Does it help if you temporarily disable website fonts and select another font as the default?
You can try different default fonts and temporarily disable website fonts to test the selected default font.
- Firefox > Preferences > Content : Fonts & Colors > Advanced
- [ ] "Allow pages to choose their own fonts, instead of my selections above"
You can also try to set this pref to false on the about:config page.
- gfx.font_rendering.fontconfig.fontlist.enabled = false
You can open the about:config page via the location/address bar. You can accept the warning and click "I'll be careful" to continue.
Modified by cor-el
Thanks Cor-el. I just unchecked "Allow pages to choose their own fonts" and that did get rid of the gobbledygook dingbats and replace them with fonts specified by my custom preferences. However, as a web designer, I don't see how this is a good solution. I design web sites for a living, and those sites use custom fonts - some are uploaded as part of the site's files and some are Google fonts called by the CSS. If the ability to view a site's custom fonts breaks my browser then I can't use that browser.
Now that we can tell there is a discrepancy in how FIrefox is interpreting what font to display in any given situation, what is a viable solution to fixing this behavior that DOESN'T involve using a custom setting that will effectively break the design of virtually every site that I visit?
Is it possible to change an about:config entry and the ui preference not reflect it? I am wondering if this will happen in a new profile without any changes to the webpage.
That means that the default font is working, but that there is a problem with the font that is used on the web page.
You can do a font test to see if you can identify corrupted font(s).
That's it Cor-el! Looks like Verdana is the culprit after all. What a great troubleshooting tool. Font Doctor didn't catch that, but this tool did. Thanks everyone.