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  5. Setting Typography Font Subsets

Setting Typography Font Subsets

You have the option to change the Font Subsets used for the Typography section. Navigate to your website admin, browse to Appearance > Customize > Typography > General.

What is a Font Subset?

In simple words, it’s a way to reduce the file size of your fonts by limiting the fonts to an extent. Professional fonts include support for multiple languages, and so font subsets are necessary for an all rounded professional font.

But if you operate a website in a single language, why would you want to carry the extra font weight? You can select the right subsets to make it more resource efficient. It lets you remove characters and OpenType features from the font file.

There’s a one-to-one relationship between the characters in the font file. So imagine, if you cut the characters in half, you will also be able to reduce the file size by half.

You need to be careful with font subsetting though. As we frequently use names of places, quotations and unique words from other languages that might require the support of these subsets.

In case if you will not support these subsets, the web font will replace with the fallback font. And in most cases, its highly undesirable as these don’t match.

Overview of the Font Subsets

Latin

  • Mostly enough for English-only websites.
  • It contains the basic Latin glyphs.
  • It covers the Unicode range between U+0020 to U+007E
  • 95 glyphs in total

latin-ext

  • Contains the extended Latin glyphs
  • Ext-A contains the Unicode range U+0100 to U+017F
  • 128 glyphs in Ext-A
  • Ext-B contains the Unicode range U+0180 to U+024F
  • 208 glyphs in Ext-B

Cyrillic

cyrillic-ext

  • A further refined selection of Cyrillic characters
  • Mostly for use in the Russian language
  • Contains an additional 66 glyphs

Greek

greek-ext

  • It also covers for the Coptic Unicode block
  • Along with additional green Unicode

Vietnamese

  • For supporting traditional Vietnamese
  • Includes Vietnamese-style diacritics
  • Includes a few characters of Vietnam’s minority languages.

Which Font Subsets to Use?

Here’s the thumb rule, if you own an English only website. You are good with only using Latin and Latin-ext. Use others only if you support multiple languages and choose Vietnamese if you’re sure you will need support for such characters as explained above.

 

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