Sans-serif typeface is usually in web, so what are the free/open/cross-platform choices that can replace Helvetica?

By replacing Helvetica I mean are there any font which is better than Helvetica for web? The reason I ask is I have read an article demoing Helvetica is often not the best choice for web.

So probably two options are needed:

  • For heading
  • For paragraph
  • 1
    This may answer your question: free 'Helvetica Neue' alternative
    – JohnB
    May 22, 2013 at 14:59
  • @JohnB, I have updated my question, I am not finding a replacement due to the price, but I am looking for any free alternative which is better than Helvetica. You can find some screenshot in my above link for comparsion. Thanks.
    – Yoga
    May 22, 2013 at 15:12
  • "Better" + "Free" is sometimes doable, but rarely are you going to get both features in one.
    – DA01
    May 22, 2013 at 17:06

3 Answers 3


The good one is Neue Haas Grotesk, but if you need a typeface only for headings I can propose my own typeface :) Take a look on this image.

enter image description here

  • Beautiful font, but it's not free in any way at all
    – Jay Wick
    Apr 19, 2014 at 11:18

The most common/closest 'alternative' to Helvetica is likely Arial, which is already installed on most computers, so you don't even need to use it as a web font.

  • 4
    Take the quiz! ironicsans.com/helvarialquiz
    – horatio
    May 22, 2013 at 17:38
  • @horatio so far I'm 100% but paused to say "National Car & Truck" is not either one. I guessed correctly on that one but its not right. Its all about knowing that Helvetica uses horizontal lines where arial is sloped.
    – Ryan
    May 23, 2013 at 20:09
  • If you want a Google web font, the closest match to Helvetica Neue (closer than Arial) is Arimo. For a font stack that puts the most Helvetica-like fonts first, includes Arimo, and suppresses the substitution of Arial for Helvetica on Windows systems, see graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/9054 . Jan 9, 2015 at 7:54

Re-posting as answer here just in case someone misses the comment.

I've always used Liberation Sans for web, because it's one of the fonts that render the best with @font-face:

enter image description here

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