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I have a fairly dated site that uses Trebuchet MS font in Latin and Cyrillic scripts. If I understand correctly, once (a decade ago) this font was available on like 95-99% of computers used for web browsing and it was ok to use it - nowadays myriads of devices (namely, Android, iOS, Linux-based devices) don't have it. In theory, it could be downloaded from Microsoft website and installed on per-computer basis, but it's not possible to redistribute it, i.e. make a web font from it.

I want to update that site and use a downloadable web font - preferably a free one. Can anyone suggest a good alternative to Trebuchet MS?

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6 Answers

One thing to get out there right away: It looks like you want 1) free, 2) multiple weights, and 3) extended character sets. That's a difficult combination. With a lot of these, a combination of 1 and 3 is possible, that usually means you have to pay to get 2. If 1 and 2 are combined, it's often at the expense of 3.

Back to your question...

Trebuchet is classified as a sans-serif humanist font. Unfortunately for you, Trebuchet is a really unique font. Off of the top of my head I can't think of something that's really similar in the same way that Proxima Nova and Gotham are, or Times and Times New Roman.

FontSquirrel is a great resource for free fonts that can be used commercially as webfonts. The link I provided links you to all of their fonts tagged as "humanist". Out of these, I think Aller gives you the right general proportion and a variety of styles, though the letterforms for plenty of these are going to be different, and there are no Cyrillic characters that I could see. Droid Sans is a humanist font that has a lot of glyphs in it, but won't look and feel exactly like Trebuchet. Same story with Pigiarniq and Source Sans.

Another poster mentioned Google Web Fonts, so I won't repeat the exercise there.

Just for kicks, I ran Trebuchet's glyphs through Identifont to see what it thought was similar. None of these will be free solutions, but they might be better fonts for you to work with. Identifont suggests Prox, FF Plus, Corbel, Elsa, and Corpid as alternatives.

If someone comes up with a great alternative to Trebuchet, then that'll certainly be better than this answer. Otherwise, hope these resources point you in the right direction!

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+1 for Identifont! –  LeeGee Feb 7 at 10:07
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Although it's not free, Trebuchet is available as a web font.

enter image description here

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Thanks for this link! So far I've found Trebuchet only at Adobe's subscription service, which costs 35$ / year. 30$ once is definitely better :) –  GreyCat Oct 16 '13 at 14:21
    
Don't forget it's $30 for each variant. But it will pay for itself after a bit. –  Andrew Leach Oct 16 '13 at 14:22
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Both Aller

Aller

and Source Sans Pro have commonalities with Trebuchet MS,

in particular the curved tail on the letter l:

Source Sans Pro

The fonts are available at fontsquirrel.com. However, only Source Sans Pro is a webfont, Aller is desktop only.

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i would suggest that you go to Google and search for a font called "Allerta " its is a sans-serif font like Trebuchet and has some similar letters or close enough letters.

enter image description here

Good day

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Thanks! It definitely looks close, but there are 2 problems: (1) it's only available in single weight, which in fact looks more like medium bold to me, (2) it lacks not only the Cyrillic letters, but also even some ASCII (namely, {, }, ~, ^, etc). –  GreyCat Oct 16 '13 at 8:56
    
OH, i have tested this font earlier but used basic letters and yes you are right, it looks more semi-bold. on the other hand i will look for another similar font to see if i can help you –  Pyere Oct 16 '13 at 9:01
    
Arimo - on google fonts seems to work perfectally and has a family of bold, italic , bold-italic and normal. hope this would help @GreyCat –  Pyere Oct 16 '13 at 9:04
    
Arimo seems to look very close to Arial, with minor differences in letters like "s", "Q" or "R". I don't feel like it's a good alternative for Trebuchet. Trebuchet seems to be more "airy", "refined", while Arial/Arimo looks like a regular neo-grotesque sans to me... –  GreyCat Oct 16 '13 at 9:25
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The only comparable font I can find that has both latin and cyrillic is Open Sans. Stylistically it's not very close, but at least it's free

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I've observed that the free/libre Sawasdee font, while far from a clone, has similar features. Here's a comparison of Sawasdee Bold versus Trebuchet MS regular:

enter image description here

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Fair try, but to me they are wildly different... every single letter is different. They have sans-serif in common but that is about it. There are wild things going on with kerning and line-heights too. –  Random O'Reilly Apr 13 at 0:06
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