IE and italics

Ever seen IE/Win ruin a layout just because a few words are in italics? I have. Just the other day I was pulling my hair out over this bug, which decided to show itself on some pages of a recently released client site. At certain window sizes, the main content container would drop below the sub menu, only to pop back up if you made the browser window slightly narrower or wider. Ah, the wonderful magic of Internet Explorer.

Luckily, I found Bruno Fassino’s excellent dissection of the problem at Position is Everything: IE and italics. The article thoroughly explains what causes the bug to occur as well as ways of preventing it from appearing. Thanks to that, I still have most of my hair left, and the problem is taken care of in IE 5.5+.

Posted on January 21, 2005 in Browsers, CSS, Quicklinks


  1. I have run into this bug on a few occasions as well. The first time I saw it it was actually forcing the container div to be to wide, thus trying to wrap it and producing those lovely gaps that you see when IE tries to wrap something it can’t.

    Even stranger, it would only occur as specific widths of the window.

    Definitely one of the stranges bugs I have run in to.

  2. I also went nuts over this bug a couple months ago with a project for the day job. It’s got to be one of the most bizzare browser issues around. It’ll drive you crazy, and there’s no really good fix for it (just workarounds).

    Sounds like reason #385,452,196 that Internet Explorer is the devil.

  3. At the time I first ran into this IE bug I was still using table layouts. Funny how that was a pretty long time ago and nothing changed ever since. I’ll just carry on praying for IE7 before going to bed…

    Sounds like reason #385,452,196 that Internet Explorer is the devil.

    I think you missed three or four digits in there, cause I can only read a little over 385 millions… It’s got to be more than just millions!

  4. January 22, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Jeff: Yeah there are just workarounds, but most people will never notice that sometimes a couple of pixels are missing from the last letter of the last word on a line of text.

    Anyway, a really frustrating bug, especially when it crawls out from under some rock after a site has gone live. But then, you should always be prepared for such things. The number of bugs in IE seems endless.

  5. I see this one alot, with float it’s absolute HELL.

    * html { width: 95% )

    Is a rule that’s in my base style sheet now.

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