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FAQ: Upcoming changes to base font size and rem units in ArcGIS Enterprise Sites

03-30-2022 01:24 PM
Esri Regular Contributor
2 0 1,405
In the ArcGIS Enterprise Sites 11.0 release, we will be including a change that increases the base font text on all sites and pages from 14px (10pt) to 16px (12pt) and changes the root html font size from 10px (8pt) to 16px.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is font size changing?
ArcGIS Enterprise Sites recognizes the importance of making web content accessible to people with diverse abilities. While there isn’t an official WCAG standard for font size, 16px (12pt) font size is commonly used by most web browsers to improve the readability of web content.
Why is Enterprise Sites changing font measurements?
rem stands for “root em” and is considered a relative size text format; it is calculated based on a value set on the root html element. The benefit of using relative text size measurements is that it improves the ability to scale a site or page layout proportionately based on the root value, which in this case will be 16px.
Where is base font text used?
Your base font is any text that has been added to a site or page layout using the preformatted paragraph font size included in the text card or through HTML/CSS in the text card editor. Headings and other preformatted font styles included in the text card will not be impacted.

How can you tell if a site uses rem values?
You can check your site’s HTML before upgrading by opening the any of the HTML/CSS editors (text card, header, footer) and looking for the presence of rem measurements.
Note: Site templates that include a timeline component have already been updated to account for the change. You do not need to take any action on the timeline component.
How do you update a site?
The upgrade will automatically update the base font size and root html font size to 16px. If you are already using rem and a root html value other than 16px, you may see some visual differences.
How can you update your site’s rem values before the upgrade?
The only way to prevent any visual changes ahead of the upgrade is to switch your rem units to pixels. You do not have to switch to pixels if your site already benefits from relative font sizing, but if you wait, you may need to modify your rem values after upgrading.
How can you update your site’s rem values after the upgrade?
The easiest way to update your rem values to be calculated based on the new root html value is to establish the equivalent pixel size of your existing rem values and then use a pixel-to-rem converter after the upgrade. Take the pixel value, open the converter, make sure base is set to 16, and generate your new rem value. Update your custom code with your new rem values.
Will content shared on a layout or through a site’s search results be impacted?
This update primarily affects the base font text of sites and pages and not items embedded on a site or page layout. You may also notice the font size increase slightly in the search results, content views, and site editor.
Can I continue to use pixels in custom HTML/CSS?
Absolutely! If you are currently using pixels, the rem update will not replace your code and you do not need to make any changes. You can safely continue to use pixel-based font sizes in your work.

About the Author
I'm a UX/UI designer for esri on ArcGIS Hub and ArcGIS Enterprise Sites with a passion for web accessibility.