Configuring Site Typefaces

Overview

Appian lets you select a custom typeface to use universally across all sites on your instance. This should be used if your company has a style guide that requires a specific typeface.

gif of a dashboard with fonts that change from an sans serif font to a serif font

Custom typefaces for sites are configured in the Administration Console. This page walks through the process for setting up a custom typeface.

This feature only shows typefaces on web browsers. Appian for Mobile Devices will continue to show the default typeface for the device's operating system.

Font files

Font files must be hosted outside of Appian to use this feature. Files can be hosted at any trusted location. You can consider Google Fonts as a source. If your instance is self-managed, we recommend hosting the files at the same domain as your Appian instance to optimize performance.

Which files do I need?

This feature uses WOFF 1.0 or WOFF 2.0 files. WOFF 1.0 works on all supported browsers. WOFF 2.0 works on all supported browsers except Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). WOFF 2.0 offers the best performance and we recommend that you always add these files if they are available. If your users use IE11, we recommend you add both WOFF 1.0 and WOFF 2.0 files.

Font files typically come in nine weights:

  • Thin (100)
  • Extra-Light (200)
  • Light (300)
  • Regular (400)
  • Medium (500)
  • Semi-Bold (600)
  • Bold (700)
  • Extra Bold (800)
  • Black (900).

Appian only uses four weights:

  • Light (300)
  • Regular (400)
  • Semi-Bold (600)
  • Bold (700)

These are the only four weights we ask for on the configuration screen. Though font files also come in italic and non-italic, Appian only requires the non-italic format.

You should also consider the languages that your users will need. There is no standard way for font files to be organized: some fonts provide every unicode character (glyph) for multiple languages in a single file while others split the glyphs across multiple files. English characters are typically found in a file labeled "Latin". The additional accented characters used by non-English Romance languages, such as the é, î, ü, are found in a file labeled "Latin-Extended".

Before you begin setting up the typeface, make sure you have a link to the WOFF 1.0 and/or WOFF 2.0 font files ready for every language you need to support in the four weights (300, 400, 600, 700) used in Appian.

Fallback behavior

If a user tries to type or view a glyph that is missing from the font files provided in the Administration Console, the glyph will still render. Depending on the browser and the set of files provided, the glyph will either render in a different weight or in Appian's default typeface, Open Sans.

For example, if a user fills out a form in Arabic but only Latin files were provided, those characters will render in Open Sans. If a user renders bold text but only the Regular (400) weight file was provided, they will most likely see the text using the 400-weight files, possibly with a bold styling applied.

Add a typeface in the Administration Console

Let's walk through configuring a typeface. For this example, we will set up Roboto Slab in English and Spanish using font files hosted at Google Fonts. We only have three files to use. The URLs for these font files are as follows:

Weight + Alphabet WOFF 2.0 WOFF 1.0
Latin All Weights https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/robotoslab/v11/BngMUXZYTXPIvIBgJJSb6ufN5qU.woff2 https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/robotoslab/v11/BngbUXZYTXPIvIBgJJSb6s3BzlRRfKOFbvjo0oSmb2Rl.woff
Latin-Extended https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/robotolab/v11/BngMUXZYTXPIvIBgJJSb6ufA5qW54A.woff2  

To add new typefaces and language groups:

  1. Go to the Administration Console and select Sites Typeface.
  2. Click + Add Typeface. screenshot of the sites typefaces page in the Admin Console with the default set to Open Sans
  3. For Typeface Name, enter Roboto Slab.
    • The name is never exposed to users, but should be descriptive to the Administrator so they know which typeface is selected.
  4. Add the WOFF 2.0 Latin files.
    • Since we only have one file with all Latin weights in this example, we will put the same URL into each row under WOFF 2.0 URL (.woff2).
  5. Add the WOFF 1.0 Latin files.
    • As above, we will put the same URL into each row under WOFF 1.0 URL (.woff1).
  6. Click Add another language group to add additional language files.
  7. For Name of the first language group, enter Latin. For Name of the second group, enter Latin Extended.
    • The language group names are not required and are only used on this interface to help you keep track of the files that have been added.
  8. In the new language group, add the file for Latin-Extended by pasting the same URL into each row for WOFF 2.0.
    • In this example, we do not have WOFF 1.0 files for Latin-Extended, so we'll leave this column blank. This means users will see the Open Sans typeface for Latin-Extended characters on IE11. All other browsers will render using Roboto Slab.
  9. Click OK. screenshot of the typefaces weights grid with all the present URLS for Roboto Slab

To make your typeface active and preview the font:

  1. Under Active, select the checkbox to set the Roboto Slab typeface to active.
  2. In the preview, visually check to make sure that each line in the new font displays unitalicized and with the correct weight.
  3. Click Save Changes.

Now all sites are using the Roboto Slab typeface.

screenshot of the sites typeface page with Roboto Slab as the active typeface and shown in the preview

Troubleshooting performance

If the typeface is rendering but there are performance issues, ensure that the following are true:

  • Caching is allowed on the font files.
  • If your instance is self-managed, fonts are hosted at the same domain as the Appian instance.
  • Font files are as small as possible.
  • WOFF 2.0 is provided for non-IE11 users.
  • The language groups are organized with the most commonly used languages/glyphs at the top and the least commonly used languages/glyphs at the bottom.

Troubleshooting the unexpected appearance of glyphs

If some glyphs are not appearing in the correct typeface, try these options:

  • In the interface, open the developer tools by pressing F12. See if there are any console errors related to the font files, such as Failed to decode downloaded font, Access to the font at [x] from origin [y] has been blocked, or an error originating from the URL that the font files are hosted at. If so:
    • Check if the server that is hosting the font files is up and valid.
    • Check if the domain that is hosting the font files is allowed on your Appian instance.
  • In Sites Typefaces, open Edit Typeface to check that the preview behaves as expected:
    • Ensure each row in the preview displays in the correct font and weight.
    • Ensure each row is shown in regular font rather than italic.
    • Changing your personal language settings will display this preview in the selected language.

Using an operating system typeface

There is a small set of typefaces that are available on most modern operating systems. These include:

  • Arial
  • Courier New
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Verdana

To add an operating system typeface:

  1. In Sites Typefaces, click +Add New Typeface.
  2. For Typeface Name, enter one of the above options.

screenshot of adding the Arial typeface into the Add Typeface dialog

If a user's operating system does not have the specified typeface installed on their system, they will see Appian's default Open Sans.

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