Importing Web Fonts with variable-exists()

Sass has introspection functions that can check for available variables, mixins, functions, and features in our code.

The introspection function I’ve found most useful is variable-exists(), which returns whether a variable exists in the current scope. With this function, we can check for a variable in our project, then instruct Sass to do something if the variable exists.

In this post, we’ll see how variable-exists() is a useful function for importing Google Web Fonts into our style sheets.

Web font variables

To use the function, we’ll need to declare variables for each Google Web Font URL:

// Web font URLs
$font-google-prim : ',300,400';
$font-google-sec  : ',700';


With variable-exists(), we can tell Sass to import a font into our style sheet if $font-google-prim or $font-google-sec exist in our project:

// _functions.scss

@if variable-exists(font-google-prim) {
  @import url($font-google-prim);
@if variable-exists(font-google-sec) {
  @import url($font-google-sec);

If we’ve defined any of the font variables, Sass will import URLs for each existing font:

/* main.css */
@import url(",300,400,700");
@import url(",700");

Now we can add this function to our Sass starter template to handle all web font imports. Define the web font variables we need in a _config or _variables partial and Sass will take care of the rest! Then it can be business as usual with our font stacks and main styles:

// Font Stacks
$stack-lato     : 'Lato', sans-serif;
$stack-pt-serif : 'PT Serif', serif;

// Main Styles
body {
  font-family: $stack-lato;
h1 {
  font-family: $stack-pt-serif;

See the demo on SassMeister:

Play with this gist on SassMeister.

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