Viewing and Printing Tips

2023 Update: a lot of the pages have since been reformatted by me (not Brainout) for better viewing on modern displays as well as an attempt to modernize (some) of the aging HTML code. It's still an ongoing process. A good portion of these tips are also quite old since the site has been around as early as Y2K.

If my webpages don't look readable, please let me know. Click Here to test which fonts look best on your monitor (some of them, you can also download). People complained they couldn't find some of the fonts. So the ones folks couldn't find, are now downloadable. All of them were standard fonts in some version of Windows, from '95 through XP, but in some earlier versions of Windows it seems the service packs deleted some fonts. All of them are standard in XP Professional (at least, my copy which I got at Sam's Club).

I keep experimenting with fonts which will prove readable on most computer monitors -- in vain. What looks good on my flat-panel Windows monitors looks like garbage on my 10-year old 'fat' monitors. Can't seem to find one font which suits all. Comic Sans MS, Georgia, Gill Sans, Arial Rounded MT Bold read the best -- but sometimes they're too dark or too light. Use the Tools Internet Options Accessibility Ignore Font Styles options in IE browser; if that doesn't work, use Tools Internet Options Fonts button and experiment with the font which works well for you in Medium through Smallest View sizes. Wish I could reliably predict what font that would be. The Arial default is barely visible, imo.

Internet Explorer can't well display fonts. What follows below might provide some helpful eye-easing help. If you like this background color, it's R254 G244 B201, html code fef4cb. You can view source on any html page and look for the "bgcolor" in the first "body" statement, and just copy that code. Wish folks wouldn't use the white so much. It's glaring. So I try to avoid using it in all my sites. If that annoys you, just keep reading this page to see how you can change the background.

Monitors caveat: the higher the monitor resolution, the smaller the dialog boxes and default Windows font sizes. So if you make fonts bigger for internetting, then your dialog boxes will be gigantic. Yet to make them smaller, is to make viewing everything else, problemmatic. What to do? After four years of experimentation on four types of monitors (new and old), I find that the clearest views result from the following settings:

So if you get hard-to-read main text in my sites, try those changes. (You might have to reboot afterwards.)

Same, for webpage colors. Some kind of pale yellow or pink background seems to work best at handling any color of text. Second to that, (oddly enough), flesh (HTML="FFDFAF" or near it). Of course, you can always turn down the brightness knob on your monitor! (Reminder: in HTML, codes are in RRGGBB format, meaning: R(ed)R(ed)G(reen)G(reen)B(lue)B(lue). So if you wanted a lighter flesh color, you'd change the "A" in "FFDFAF" upward a notch, and test. 0-9, then A-F is the order of less-ness. THINK PROPORTIONS, so if you lighten BB, and you want to keep shade true, you'll have to lighten RR and GG in the same amount.)

Some sites use special fonts to get a particular 'look'. "Salvation Components" uses "Folio Md BT" to get chart spacing to work; I'll fix it later so it won't matter what font is used. The "Thinking Out Loud" series uses the following fonts: Gill Sans MT (my new favorite font for flat-screen monitors), Georgia, Sylfaen, Arial MT Rounded Bold, Trebuchet MS, Lithograph, Matura MT Script Capitals, Lucida Handwriting, and Ruach LET. So if you don't have these fonts in your Windows/Fonts directory, you might get strange-looking text. I'd appreciate a complaining email -- or write anonymously in one of the blog or feedback pages (link in top 1/10 of Home Page) -- if that happens to you. Matura MT Script is essential to the SatStrat.htm page, as its UNreadability is a way of stressing Satan would like it very much if we couldn't read BIBLE. That script was the most common script used to write Bible for centuries (well, closest thing I could find to the uncials).

You can override fonts and colors from your 'Explorer Tools, Options, Accessibility menu options; Font size, from View menu. Or, you can edit the HTML Source: within BODY you'll find a "text=" you can edit, and the "font face=" command is just after the first "BODY" tag.

By the way, midnight blue is sharper (easier) to read than black text. You can create it by Tools, Options, Colors, click on the "Text" color, then override by selecting custom colors, and type in these values: Red=0, Green=0, Blue=152 (HTML equivalent is "000098"). You can go darker (lower the "9") or lighter (use a-f in lieu of the "9", "f" being lightest): the blue box at the left of the color indicator changes as you move the little triangle. I like 0 0 184 ("0000a8") best; a slightly-lighter blue ("000b8") is sometimes better, even -- depends on the background you choose. Backgrounds should be of reverse-base shade, generally (i.e., blue on pink or yellow or especially beige/cream, but not blue). Sometimes same-shade background works better, and I don't know WHY (aaargh).

Other good viewing-text colors are purples (993399 or lower); here on this page you see a forest green ("003300" -- 66 88 or 99 is good, too -- below 77 prints most clearly), because green offers less glare yet still good contrast. Decide for yourself which you like better. For reds, it's kinda dicey: a brighter red won't define well on medium backgrounds. CONTRAST (between font and background) seems to work better if colors are of opposite brightness classes (dull+sharp). It's not always true, though: dunno why.


  • If you select HP LaserJet II as your printer, colored text will be routinely black (else, colors print grayer, and may be harder to read).
  • Margins: if you're printing pages from Internet Explorer, be sure to make View Size "Smaller"; to avoid buggy Windows printing, make sure the right margin is at least .1" WIDER than left (else, words are either dropped or DOUBLED, in print).
  • Black-and-white Printers: webpage fonts which are higher (lighter) than 006600 will print gray-ey, and may be lighter than you'll like. (View HTML source and look in BODY for "text" value to see if you'll have that problem for most text.) If your printer is NOT color, BEFORE PRINTING you might want to
    • change Tools, Options, Colors Text to Black, OR 00152 (midnight blue RGB setting).
    • change the Accessibility to "Ignore Colors", so that non-black colors won't print too lightly.
  • Explorer Printer Definitions Bug: test just the FIRST page's printing, to make sure Explorer didn't forget what printer you have! For an unknown reason, suddenly Explorer will 'forget' your printer definition -- usually when you print a LONG site, of course! -- so you get GIGO instead of the site you wanted to print. This can happen at ANY time, so always do a page-1 test, first.
  • Another bug when tables follow each other without intervening non-table text, important to know if you WRITE websites: don't ever have a table begin right after another table (embedded tables are fine, but sequential ones are quirky). If the second table happens to begin at a page end, the entire table won't print, and your page count will be off.
  • Outlook Express 6 governs print size by Explorer View Text Size. So if you make the latter too small, with HP (IV-V versions) your hyphens (etc.) will sometimes scrunch together, when printing out your email: looks kinda like a five-car-pileup on the 605 freeway. Solve the problem by increasing EXPLORER View Text Size, then close the browser and reboot. If the problem continues, do it again (Windows never clears all of its memory cache the first time after a change. That bug has been in Windows since it was first born, and is a major cause for all Windows crashes, boots, blue-screen errors, etc. Even Norton wrote about it back in Norton Utilities version 5.)

    BTW, Trebuchet MS makes a GREAT printing font in smaller or smallest View size, if you have it. If you have Win98 or XP, it should be on your OEM CD/diskettes. The Win98 font is far better, imo.