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Loading Fonts

Loading fonts is similar to loading images. It does come with unique challenges, though. How to know what font formats to support? There can be up to four font formats to worry about if you want to provide first class support to each browser.

The problem can be solved by deciding a set of browsers and platforms that should receive first class service. The rest can use system fonts.

You can approach the problem in several ways through webpack. You can still use the type loader field as with images. Font test patterns tend to be more complicated, though, and you have to worry about font file related lookups.

Setting up a loader

If you exclude Opera Mini, all browsers support the .woff format based on Can I Use↗. .woff2, is widely supported by modern browsers and is another option. Going with one format, you can use a similar setup as for images and rely on maxSize:

const config = {
  test: /\.woff2?(\?v=\d+\.\d+\.\d+)?$/, // Match .woff?v=1.1.1.
  type: "asset",
  parser: { dataUrlCondition: { maxSize: 50000 } },

In case you want to make sure the site looks good on a maximum amount of browsers, you can use type: "asset/resource" field at a loader definition and forget about inlining. Again, it’s a trade-off as you get extra requests, but perhaps it’s the right move.

Here you could end up with a loader configuration as below:

const config = {
  test: /\.(ttf|eot|woff|woff2)$/,
  type: "asset/resource",

The way you write your CSS definition↗ matters. To make sure you are getting the benefit from the newer formats, they should become first in the definition.

@font-face {
  font-family: "Demo Font";
  src: url("./fonts/df.woff2") format("woff2"), url("./fonts/df.woff")
    url("./fonts/df.eot") format("embedded-opentype"), url("./fonts/df.ttf")

Using icon fonts

iconfont-webpack-plugin↗ was designed to simplify loading icon based fonts. It inlines SVG references within CSS files.

To include only the icons that are only needed, use fontmin-webpack↗.

Using Google Fonts

@beyonk/google-fonts-webpack-plugin↗ can download Google Fonts to webpack build directory or connect to them using a CDN.

Manipulating file-loader output path and publicPath

To have more control over font output, one option is to use url-loader and file-loader as they still work. Furthermore, it’s possible to manipulate publicPath and override the default per loader definition. The following example illustrates these techniques together:

  // Match woff2 and patterns like .woff?v=1.1.1.
  test: /\.woff2?(\?v=\d+\.\d+\.\d+)?$/,
  use: {
    loader: "url-loader",
    options: {
      limit: 50000,
      mimetype: "application/font-woff",
      name: "./fonts/[name].[ext]", // Output below ./fonts
      publicPath: "../", // Take the directory into account

In the example above, the usage of file-loader is obscured url-loader. It uses file-loader underneath with the limit option. The loader options are passed to it. You can override the behavior by using the fallback option.

Eliminating unused characters

subfontβ†— is a tool that performs static analysis against webpack’s HTML output and then rewrites the fonts to include only glyphs that are used. The subsetting process can reduce the size of the font files dramatically.

Generating font files based on SVGs

If you prefer to use SVG based fonts, they can be bundled as a single font file by using webfonts-loader↗.

Take care with SVG images if you have SVG specific image setup in place already. If you want to process font SVGs differently, set their definitions carefully. The Loader Definitions chapter covers alternatives.


Loading fonts is similar to loading other assets. You have to consider the browsers you want to support and choose the loading strategy based on that.

To recap:

  • When loading fonts, the same techniques as for images apply. You can choose to inline small fonts while bigger ones are served as separate assets.
  • If you decide to provide first class support to only modern browsers, you can select only a font format or two and let the older browsers to use system level fonts.

In the next chapter, you’ll learn to load JavaScript using Babel and webpack. Webpack loads JavaScript by default, but there’s more to the topic as you have to consider what browsers you want to support.