Unicode Rendering: Firefox vs Chrome

OS: Windows XP SP3

My question is about the rendering of this post on Firefox vs Chrome. I can see a lot of boxes on Chrome, not so much on Firefox.





What do I do?


firefox and chrome settings

Update 2

Changed Sans Serif fonts on Chrome to Arial Unicode and restarted

Chrome fonts

Update 3

This is inspired by @Arjan's references

The smilies on Firefox(The reference smilies are the ones below)

the smilies on firefox

The smilies on Chrome(The reference smilies are the ones below)

the smilies on chrome


The source of the above post is displayed as below


firefox source


source on chrome

  • For some, it looks much better. Also see the notes on displaying at How do I create Unicode smilies like ٩(•̮̮̃•̃)۶. – Arjan Jan 13 '11 at 10:48
  • @Arjan Thx for the reference – abel Jan 13 '11 at 11:02
  • @Arjan Updated post – abel Jan 13 '11 at 11:13
  • Note that it's not 100% sure that only your own browser or OS is to blame. Maybe the CSS of the website has some minor flaws, which forces some browsers to compress things into a single line. Just guessing, but sometimes copying Unicode smileys out of the browser into a good text editor looks just fine. Also, your browser's window title or the task bar might show the smileys just fine too — even when they do not show correct within a HTML <h1> or <p> element. – Arjan Jan 13 '11 at 11:17

There is more to it, including operating system used.

My Chrome rendering of that post looks similar to your firefox image.

Simply put, it is a mixture of ANSI/Unicode characters and encoding techniques. Different browsers (and operating systems) treat and render it differently.

re: comment...

I am running Windows 7 - Windows Vista and Windows 7 handle ANSI/Unicode and international rendering much better. If you go to international/region options in control panel (of XP), you should be able to install additional support for complex languages.

alt text

(from http://www.mehramedia.com/)

This simply means to me that Firefox uses its own rendering engine for everywhere, where as Chrome relies on the operating systems support.

  • Both run on the same XP SP3 box. – abel Jan 13 '11 at 9:45
  • @abel - updated answer. – William Hilsum Jan 13 '11 at 9:47

It looks the same in both browsers for me :/

Have you tried changing character encodings or the Chrome font in the Chrome Options? It could be that Chrome is either using the wrong encoding or a font that does not have the full unicode set.

Check that the fonts and encodings are the same between Firefox and Chrome.

In Firefox go to: Options -> Content -> under "Fonts and Colours" click Advanced
And in Chrome: Chrome Options -> Under the Bonnet -> Change Font and Language Settings.

Make sure they are both the same and theory has it that you will see the same in both browsers.


Looking at your 3rd Update it looks like you have an old/weird XP version of the Arial font, it could be that XP simply has an older version of the font than Vista or Win7

Ah, just found the Microsoft font pages which usefully detail which versions of fonts are supplied with each of their software packages. Take a look at http://www.microsoft.com/typography/fonts/font.aspx?FMID=1705

It looks like the only legal way to get the Arial v5 font is from Windows Vista or Windows 7. Or to pay $30 for it. Is there anyone where you are with a Vista machine that you can "borrow" the font from? The problem is that I'm not sure how well XP would support the updated font.

  • I have posted a screenshot of firefox and chrome font settings – abel Jan 13 '11 at 10:47
  • @abel Could you try changing the Sans-Serif font to "Arial Unicode" in Chrome? – Mokubai Jan 13 '11 at 10:57
  • @abel I'm using Vista, which chances are has slightly better unicode support than XP, and it could be that the basic Arial font in Vista is identical to the unicode version, and Firefox knows to use the full unicode on XP... Otherwise it could be that MS Office or something has installed an updated font on my machine. My Arial font is 720KB so it looks to be a full Unicode font. Could you check the font size for Arial in C:\Windows\Fonts – Mokubai Jan 13 '11 at 11:03
  • @abel If you do find a copy of the newer Arial font, don't forget to change the font back to standard Arial in the Chrome settings. – Mokubai Jan 13 '11 at 11:31
  • 1
    @abel I suspect it would work, but as to it being against the EULA, I'm not a lawyer. As a consumer I would claim that as I own Windows 7 I should be able to take parts (the font) from it to use as I see fit, but I suspect a lawyer would claim that the font was licensed for use only on the machine it was installed on and so transferring it to another machine may well be against the EULA. – Mokubai Jan 13 '11 at 11:57

I fixed this problem by installing these fonts as was recommended in this blog post.
In case these links get invalidated for some reason, here are archived versions: fonts, blog post.

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