Using em units for font sizes

Important Information about Techniques

See Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria for important information about the usage of these informative techniques and how they relate to the normative WCAG 2.1 success criteria. The Applicability section explains the scope of the technique, and the presence of techniques for a specific technology does not imply that the technology can be used in all situations to create content that meets WCAG 2.1.



This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to specify text font size in em units so that user agents can scale content effectively. Since the em is a property of the font, it scales as the font changes size. If a font-size is specified for the body element, all other elements inherit that value, unless overridden by a more specific selector.


Example 1: Em font sizes in CSS

This example defines the font size for strong element so that its text will always be larger than the surrounding text, in whatever context it is used. Assuming that headings and paragraphs use different font sizes, the strong words in this example will each be larger than their surrounding text.

strong {font-size: 1.6em}


<h1>Letting the <strong>user</strong> control text size</h1>
<p>Since only the user can know what size text works for him, 
it is <strong>very</strong> important to let him configure the text size.  </p>


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  1. Check that the value of the CSS property that defines the font size is expressed in em units.

Expected Results

  • Check #1 is true