The other day I was browsing my bank's website and things looked messed up. I initially blamed it on my bank, because my bank is terrible at having a website.

Screenshot of bank website, showing corrupted text
My bank, in theory showing me my accounts, and balances. Instead showing corrupted text. Blurry bits are for privacy.

Then a few days later I logged onto Mastadon and saw similar corrupted text. showing similar corrupted text

I thought this was interesting because frankly I have more belief in Mastadon instances working properly than my bank. Normally I'm a Firefox user, but I decided to load the site up in Chrome to see if it repeated, and it did. I thought the fact that it was showing some text correctly, and other text incorrectly was suspicious, using developer tools I discovered that the incorrectly rendering text was using a sans-serif font and my browser was using the Roboto system font for rendering.

Screenshot of developer browser tools. Font-feature-settings is selected, at the bottom it identifies Roboto as the rendered font (from Local File)

Very Suspicious.

Using Mac Font Book I was able to pull up the font and verify it. It verified fine, everything was great according to Font Book. But if I disabled the font, then restarted Chrome the problem went away.

Screenshot of text, the text is irrelevant but it rendered correctly!

I tried talking with other Mac users to replace that font, but none of them had it. After allowing Adobe Creative Cloud to update 74 things I guessed the font came from them so I deleted it from my system and re-installed. Now things seem fine.


How to fix corrupted text on web pages

  1. Use developer tools in Chrome to find out which system font is being used
  2. Use Font Book to find that font
  3. Disable it, see if that fixes the problem, if not try a different font
  4. Delete the problematic font and re-install