Did MS ever fix Arial Black italic font problem?

Posted on 2010-08-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-08
Creating a simple web page, using CSS to set the font to "Arial Black"...

In FireFox, it renders normal. In Internet Explorer 7 it renders as italic. Even setting font-style to normal doesn't help.

OK, after some research I learned the following (exerpted from another blog):

"What happened was that in 2008 Microsoft released Service Pack 3 for Windows XP and the update included a new version 2.40 of the font file ariblk.ttf. This was a mistake by someone at Microsoft who named an italicised version of Arial Black with that filename. Luckily, Service Pack updates retain uninstalled files so the problem can be solved by deleting version 2.40 and copying version 2.35 from the retained folder. This does mean diving into areas of your system that many of you may have never realised were there but it's pretty simple:"

OK, fine, I get that and the solution worked for other people. For myself, I had an OpenType "Arial Black" font and a TrueType "Arial Black Italics" font. I deleted the TTF and now my problem is fixed. Great, problem solved...for myself. But what about other people viewing the site?

So my question is....Did MS ever fix this problem??

Arial Black is supposedly a web safe font, but it didn't render correctly on my computer, and most people on the web will not go through the same steps I did to make it work.

If it's relevant, I recently reverted back to IE7 from IE8 because 8 kept crashing on me. So I'm hoping this is only affecting me because I went back in time so to speak. But, I just installed all the latest windows updates and it didn't help.

Also, it's possible I downloaded and installed the "Arial Black Italics" TTF font myself, but I can't remember. Are both of these fonts installed by default??

I'm running Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit, with 8GB of Ram. I also have Adobe CS3 master suite installed. Can give more info on request if I'm forgetting something pertinent.

Microsoft inadvertently jacking up a web safe font seems like a pretty big deal to me. So I assume they would have quickly followed it up by pushing through a high priority update to fix it. But I can't find any info confirming they did. Anyone else out there run into this?

In summary, is Arial Black really safe to use on the web?

Question by:alupkaman
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Expert Comment

ID: 33439018
I wouldn't be using Arial Black, I wouldn't consider it "web safe", others may though.

Your problem maybe that your browser is not even using Arial Black and reverting to using Sans Serif which sort of can look like its in italics.


I would test on multiple PCs and browsers as it seems your PC with all the modify being done to the fonts maybe the actual issue.  Also never heard of the italic replace by a Microsoft during XP SP3, which you aren't even using on your PC so I don't know all seems very weird.  Fresh PC and different browsers are your friend.

Author Comment

ID: 33439480
My clients and I tend to like Arial Black for headings and haven't had any problems in the past. My problem was not just with Internet Explorer. A text box with the same font in Adobe Fireworks also malfunctioned. When I click the bold button, it would italicize the text instead of bolding it. Clicking it again would never unitalicize it. After deleting the TrueType font "Arial Black Italics" from my computer, the problem went away.

Tons of other people on the internet have reported this problem. They were able to fix it on their own computers, but most people will not go so far to look up the solution. The posts were somewhat dated, so I couldn't find any info of whether this problem was ever resolved by Microsoft. Arial Black is listed as a web safe font on dozens of authoritative websites.  So I'm posting here to get a definitive answer regarding the status of this font/windows update bug.

It's clearly a bug for normal font to be italicized. The fact that so many people have reported the problem would suggest that it's NOT "safe."  Yet, all the information I keep finding says that it's a web safe font. In my opinion, any font, which has to be manually repaired within the operating system by the end user, should not be considered web safe. But all the sites say that it is. So I feel like I'm missing something here.

Numerous people online reported this problem after the MS update, and were able to resolve it. But it begs the questions....what about all the other people who wouldn't think to address this issue? Was the problem resolved for the masses (meaning the font is safe to use), or is there still a significant portion of users out there with the bugged 2.40 version of this font installed?

I doesn't help me to fix the font on my computer alone, because I expect a web safe font to work on pretty much everyone else's computers as well.

Expert Comment

ID: 33445059
I thought the font was released by MS who resolved the issue in a windows update, but could be wrong....

....Woohoo I found the hotfix - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/892598/

Like anything on the web, you cannot really tell if everyone or even the majority will have this resolved. I would stick with the font in your case, if it is the font you wish to use. I am unsure if any CSS overrides for the font work {font-style:italic !important} actually override the issue or not...

But like everything web, everyone is different, browsers, computers, fonts, resolution etc etc. Just stick with it :-P
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Author Comment

ID: 33480363
I tested the site on two different computers. Both were Win XP and using IE. One computer displayed the "Arial Black" correctly as normal.

The other computer displayed the font of the exact same web page in italics.

Anyone out there familiar with this issue...why MS screwed it up and what the current status of it is? It seems to me that this would be such simple fix to push through Windows Updates.

To be more specific, Arial Black is listed as a web safe font, yet I've seen two instances now where it didn't display correctly (italics instead of normal). My quesion is simply, is it really web safe? If yes, why? If no, why not?

LVL 30

Accepted Solution

Marc Z earned 750 total points
ID: 33495189
No, it is not web"safe". As you have demonstrated already. Two different computers display it differently. Do you know why?  Because not Every machine on the internet updates themselves.
You Cannot control other peoples computers via your webpage. Select the font you want to use and put a little "Help! Your page is all in Italics" link to the above mentioned kb article.

Have you looked at your page in Firefox or Safari or Chrome or any of the other Web browsers?  Have you compared it in IE7 and 8?
LVL 49

Assisted Solution

dbrunton earned 750 total points
ID: 33495239
Arial Black is included in the Core  Fonts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_fonts_for_the_Web package.  This would be why it is/was considered web safe.  Anyone could use it on their systems no matter what OS they ran and it would render the same.  That is why you'll find it on Linux and Macintosh boxes.

From the Wikipedia link it looks like they only released Arial Black as version 2.35 in that package.  I've found 2.40 in my Windows 2000 system and it seems to render OK in both Open Office and IE 6 so I may have a good version.

However as you state Microsoft stuffed up the Service Pack for XP.

And, well, now you can't consider it web safe because of that.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33528385
I was afraid of that. Thanks for responses anyway. Yes, it does work in firefox, even on the computers that didn't work correctly in IE. Leave it to MS to jack up a perfectly good web safe font and then not even bother to push a simple update to fix it.

Author Comment

ID: 33537844
@Vee Mod:

thanks for extending my question to other forums.

Concerning the message you sent to me, you must have also misunderstood my original question. I was not looking for a patch for my own computer, which is why I made it clear in my follow up comments. So the suggestion that I patch my own computer was NOT an acceptable solution, and an obvious misunderstanding of the question I initially posed. As I stated, I had already fixed the problem for myself. However, I was interested in finding concrete factual information from someone more knowledgeable about the topic, regarding the "reasons" why or why not a supposed web safe font should or should not be considered as such. I was looking for statistics or quotes or direct observations from other developers who have dealt with this along with references or supporting documentation to support the opinion.


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