sIFR – Use Your Favorite Fonts on Your Web Site

I’m not sure how many people are aware of this amazing tool, as I just heard about it today. However, I came across an article discussing font replacement, and it mentioned a utility called “sIFR”. I quickly did a Google search and found out exactly what that is.

sIFR is a Flash/ActionScript/Javascript implementation that allows you to use any font you choose on your Web site. Rather than being confined to using the standard Web fonts that are available on all systems (or specifying a series of fonts from which the browser can choose), you can use specialty fonts without having to go through the hassle of converting them from TrueType Fonts (TTF) to GDF (the graphically-based font format that can be embedded within Web-based documents), you can simply use sIFR to use your favorite TTF.

There is one major catch; you have to have a Flash editor capable of opening and editing FLA files (which, I believe, only leaves you with one choice: Adobe Flash). You also have to have the desired font on your computer, but that’s fairly minor.

From what I’ve been able to ascertain, sIFL degrades extremely well, and doesn’t interfere with accessibility. In addition to those points, one major plus of using sIFL over using an image file is the fact that users can still highlight, copy and paste the underlying text. Basically, sIFL just uses javascript to redraw the text using the font that’s stored inside of the Flash file.

It seems very cool, and is definitely worth some investigation. I will be playing with it extensively over the next few weeks.