The Best Google Fonts Plugin

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In the past few years, the ability to legitimately use a large variety of fonts has become real. This allows us a huge expanse in what you can do with fonts on the web. And Google has provided such a wide variety of fonts for free, that it makes it easier than ever.

This morning I reviewed eight plugins that make it easy to access the free Google web fonts. I’m not a big fan of reviews that just spew out “seventeen different plugin options”, and then make you wade through them all, to figure out which ones are best. I’d much rather have someone do the work at finding out which ones seem reasonable—or great—and just tell me which ones to use. That is what I have done here.

What I eliminated

(If you don’t care, move on to “What I picked”!) My time-saving process involved looking through all the obvious, reasonable-looking (free) candidates, and weeding out the ones that looked like they just wouldn’t cut the mustard for one reason or another. Here is what I eliminated, for a variety of reasons. In some cases, it just means the plugin is not that interesting, to what I was looking for:

  1. Google Web Fonts Manager: Does not consolidate calls to Google; does not contain a place to add CSS selectors for fonts.
  2. Web Fonts: Would be terrific, but I couldn’t get the selector portion to work.
  3. Fontific: Looks cool, but website no longer live.
  4. Supreme Google Webfonts: No longer under development, and developer selling a paid plugin instead.
  5. Ultimate Google Fonts: Does not provide all fonts.
  6. WP Web Fonts: Very simple; not that interesting.
  7. Google Webfonts Integrate: Pretty rudimentary.

What I picked:
WordPress Google Fonts

WordPress Google Fonts is a very nice plugin, and will do nicely.

Immediate setup. You still need to go to the Google fonts page to pick out the font(s) you want—but, Google makes it so easy to find the fonts you want there, why reinvent the wheel?

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Very laudably, combines all the fonts you want into one call to Google. It is recently updated.

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Simonetta assigned to basic body fonts (with a fixed line height), and a larger sized Alex Brush for the bold fonts—just for fun.

Once you have found the fonts you want, the plugin lets you choose the font(s) in question from a drop-down list. When you have chosen one, it shows you all the possible variants of the font. Some fonts have a variety of weights—for example, Open Sans has 300, 400, 600, 700, and 800.

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Open Sans has a lot of font variants.

There is no place specifically to say “Make H1’s be 800 weight Open Sans, and H2’s be 600 weight Open Sans”. But, what he provides instead is a place for custom CSS. In truth, you could put any custom CSS, so here you could make any specific rule you needed to. I like that.

If you wanted to use the plugin by itself, you would want to choose one weight that browsers would ascribe as “normal weight,” and one that they would ascribe as “bold” weight.

What’s awesome is that at the developer provides a place where you can assign “generic” selectors, such as “p” or “h1” to a certain font, but also a box where you can apply specific rules. But he points out that these will not always work, because a theme’s CSS stylesheet might override them. In that case, you can use his custom CSS boxes.

The Bottom Line

Use WordPress Google Fonts; it’s great.

To get more powerful, learn a little bit of CSS.

Chris