[html5] Accessing the user's installed fonts

Oliver Sartun osartun at gmail.com
Mon Jul 29 04:01:59 PDT 2013

Hello Markus,

2013/7/29 Markus Ernst <derernst at gmx.ch>:
> Am 27.07.2013 03:19 schrieb Bjartur Thorlacius:
>> You have already suggested that access to some information is necessary.
>> Now we need to reach a consensus on how necessary the information is,
>> how hard it is to get without a browser API. The API has to be both
>> useful enough and simple enough. And it'll either need to be
>> asynchronous, like just about everything else in JavaScript, or
>> otherwise account for the fact that a user may not let every web page he
>> visits know about every font he has installed.
>> And consider how the information would be accessed using existing web
>> technologies: OAuth HTTP uri-list. Ponder whether access to local fonts
>> is to specific of a function to be supported explicitly by web browsers.
> How do the manufacturers of "cloud"-based office applications such as Google
> Docs or MS Office 365 handle this? Do their clients accept the fact that
> fonts they might have purchased are not useable in their office application?

The fonts provided by the MS Word webapp seem to be only installed
fonts on the user's system. The only font the MS Word webapp includes
via @font-face is "Segoe UI Web" in three different styles. But this
font isn't offered to the user to select it for writing, it's only
used for the app's UI.
Google Docs, Apple Pages for iCloud and zoho include at least some of
the fonts they provide via @font-face. It seems that Apple Pages for
iCloud doesn't rely on the user's installed fonts at all, but includes
all of the fonts itself as it has a whole bunch of 350 @font-face
rules in its stylesheet.
However, none of them provide all of the user's installed fonts. So,
their clients must accept the fact that special fonts they had
purchased or created on their own aren't usable in their office
application. In return, (thanks to the included fonts) they can use
fonts they might not have on their own system.

> Or do they have local software installed that corresponds with the web-based
> applications?

I didn't download anything that might correspond with the web-based
As none of the apps offer all of the user's installed fonts, they're
apparently also not making use of the Flash-based solution for
accessing the user's fonts.


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