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Chapter Thirteen. Working with Browsers ... > Why Keywords Beat Ems and Percentage...

Why Keywords Beat Ems and Percentages

As mentioned earlier in “The Heartbreak of Ems,” when you use ems or percentages, there is always the danger that their values will multiply, resulting in text that is too small or too large. By contrast, keyword values do not compound even when the elements nest. If <body> is small, <div> is small, and <p> is small, and p lives inside div, which lives inside body, the three small values do not compound (as ems and percentages do), and the result is still legible. Moreover, the result is still small (not x-small or xx-small). Ems and percentages compound. Keyword values do not compound.

In addition, at least in Gecko and modern IE browsers, xx-small can never be smaller than 9px, which means it can never be illegible. Text might be hard for some users to read, of course, but that is not the same thing as illegibility.


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