I've noticed that the same font can look quite different depending on the browser or application: to the extent that it might look nice in one browser but quite terrible in another.

Here's a screenshot of the Source Sans Pro.

enter image description here


Notice that small caps look nice on Firefox but not so on Edge, which is a problem because I need small caps.

Why is this happening and is there a way to fix this?

  • 1
    Microsoft uses font hinting and some of the fonts havent got the hinting done well. Neither mozilla, apple nor google do. You can test this by loading the font in fontforge and have it autogenerate the hints save and see what happens.
    – joojaa
    Sep 11, 2021 at 18:08
  • The small caps look much better in Edge than in Firefox in that screenshot. The bold looks better in Firefox, though. Sep 12, 2021 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


Each and every viewing application has its own font rendering engine.

It has less to do with "web" and "desktop" than it does with the applications (including web browsers) themselves.

The font rendering engine in Edge is not the same as the font rendering engine in Firefox, which is not the same as the font rendering engine in LibreOffice, which is not the same as the font rendering engine in Adobe applications, which is not the same as the font rendering engine in Chrome... etc...

Each and every application dictate what to read from a font file and how to draw that font. The fonts themselves don't control display... only the data for the font. How that data is interpreted is up to the application developers. If the font has internal suggestions about how to draw glyphs (hinting) or metrix for kerning, etc that does not mean any application must read and honor those suggestions.


Hmm. Several weird things are going on here. The website isn't loading the italic properly, you'll see "adjacent" is simply slanted when the 'a' should be single-story. Rendering makes it hard to say which is getting the small caps right.

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