Using Google Fonts in Your Web Pages

Cooper Makhijani

Google Fonts is a service provided for free by Google that allows access to thousands of fonts. All the available fonts are under Open Source licenses, meaning they’re free to use for both commercial and non-commercial projects.

Getting started

This article will go over using Google Fonts on a webpage. Below is what a boilerplate web page looks like right now:

Screenshot of boilerplate page

And here’s the boilerplate HTML markup:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
  <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
  <title>My web page</title>
</head>
<body>
  <h1>Welcome to my website</h1>
</body>
</html>

Pretty boring, huh? Let’s spice it up a little with a better font.

Choosing your fonts

It’s now time for us to choose our fonts. Head on over to fonts.google.com and select a font you like by pressing the little (+) (plus) button. I’m going to use Karla. Once you’ve picked out your font, expand the drawer on the bottom of the page.

There are two ways to import the font for use. For the first method, copy the code in the code box under the Standard label. Now head on over back to your markup and add a the copied code and a style tag to the head of the document like this.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
  <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
  <title>My web page</title>

  <link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Karla&display=swap" rel="stylesheet">
</head>
<body>
  <h1>Welcome to my website</h1>
</body>
</html>

You'll notice from the URL example above that Google Fonts now supports the font-display property! 🎉

If you already have a separate CSS stylesheet, copy the code under the @import label and add it to the top of your stylesheet like so.

@import url('https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Karla&display=swap');

.element {
  /* ... */
}

Using the Fonts

We’ve imported our fonts, now it’s time to use them. Let’s set the body of our HTML markup to use Karla, like so:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
  <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
  <title>My web page</title>

  <link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Karla&display=swap" rel="stylesheet">

  <style>
      body {
        font-family: 'Karla', sans-serif;
      }
  </style>
</head>
<body>
  <h1>Welcome to my website</h1>
</body>
</html>

Now, if we take a look at our web page, it looks like this:

Screenshot with our custom font

That looks a lot better!

✨ That was easy, wasn't it? Now you can make your web pages look prettier with the free font hosting offered by Google Fonts! Thanks for reading!

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