Desktop App - Common Fonts (Win/Mac)

Hi all,

I’m looking at updating the UI in my desktop app (Mac and Windows). I’ve found various links on common fonts and was wondering if anyone has done this recently and anything to learn from it before I head into it?

Thanks, Richard

If you want to know the names of the OSes common built-in fonts… just collate them by yourself by running WordPad (WIndows) and TextEdit (Apple) and compare the results.

Since it is mandatory to run your project in each running platforms… it is easy to do.

Thanks Emile. I’m good on my fonts on both, was curious is anyone has been bitten by real-world applications, like some languages/countries do not install these fonts etc. :slight_smile:

Regards, Richard

Use “System” for all control fonts. It will be the correct system level font on every platform. No need to worry about what’s installed.


was curious is anyone has been bitten by real-world applications, like some languages/countries do not install these fonts etc.

I do not understand that, sorry.

My answer was:
use the code from the LR and place the fonts names (for both platforms) into a ListBox and compare.

Or… in the old times, I checked the list of default fonts in Acrobat Reader (because it is present in both platforms: macOS and Windows) and stay with them :wink:

I do that now, but was looking to making parts of the UI (Listbox maybe gets replaced by a some custom painting in the cells) and making it cleaner. On other projects (not related to this) the internal customers want the UI to look identical on WIndows and Mac (aka HTML 5 based… :frowning: )

Thanks all, I’ll experiment.

If you do use HTML elements the following CSS will make the Mac version use the system typeface.

html, body { font-family: -apple-system }

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For identical looks on Windows and Mac you only have the boring fonts like Arial, Times, Verdana etc.

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I think since Win7/10 and later Mac versions fortunately there are a few more. However there is a risk things will look weird :slight_smile:

In a couple of apps where I need fonts for some specific languages (Bengali, Hebrew, Greek, Syriac), I add those fonts in the app itself, and temporarily-load them when they are not among the list of fonts of Mac or Windows.

You can indeed use the same font files on Windows and Mac, but since the rendition differs on each platform, in practice, you will not get the same result.

Some while ago I had a customer make me design a set of fonts with the specific provision that they should produce the same result on Windows and Mac. The amount of work was not trivial…

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My 50 cents: there is nothing more weird than users and their fonts: they can basically install / uninstall what they want, and some people are “crazy” ;-).

In a corporate environment it is usually easier, but if you are targeting “normal” users, the best way is to either stay with the system fonts, or the “boring” Arial, Times, etc. or, as suggested, install your own font via your setup routines to be sure that the font exists (which however you should always check in your app, as it might got uninstalled between the Setup and the run of the app).

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@Michel_Bujardet I think you sum it up very well, the nuances will likely be too much effort. Thank You.

In some of my apps, I activate fonts in my own app, instead of installing them. I use MBS plugins, but it is also possible to do it via declares. It mitigates the risk of a “crazy” user uninstalling critical fonts.

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Same here, although I use declares.

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