Jump to main content

Font metrics

Being able to visualise the baseline position, cap-height and x-height of a typeface can be helpful, for example when trying to precisely align inline-block elements (like icons) to text.

These properties are not directly accessible via css, but can be obtained from font-editing software like FontForge. The values are stored in _settings_font.scss (the defaults apply to the Ubuntu font family). If you want to use this utility with another font, you will need to change the default values to match your font.


To import just this utility into your project, copy the snippet below and include it in your main Sass file.

// import Vanilla and include base mixins
// this only needs to happen once in a given project
@import 'vanilla-framework/scss/vanilla';
@include vf-base;

@include vf-u-visualise-baseline($horisontal-bleed: 2rem);

Then insert a span with class u-visualise-font-metrics in a heading, paragraph or button.

The $horisontal-bleed variable (default value 2rem) makes the lines protrude on either side of the element, in order to help align adjacent elements. To remove the bleed, use @include vf-u-visualise-baseline(0).

For more information on font metrics, this blog post gives a good overview.

For more information see Customising Vanilla in your projects, which includes overrides and importing instructions.