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Revisiting Programming Fonts


Anyone know if the truetype version of profont is scalable and/or aliasing? (Sorry Damian, couldn’t resist)

Folks who like ProFont might like MonteCarlo. It’s somewhat similar, but includes a good-looking bold weight.


OptiSmall for me, I love how many lines of code I can fit on screen with everything perfectly legible.



Be Cool…Im realy…

I’ve been doing it for years; first Verdana and now Tahoma.


Certain types of data are easier to parse (with your eyes and brain) in monospace. Some types of data are even impossible to read without it (i.e. tablature for string instruments).

Other than that, I’m just anal about lining up things in my code (parens, brackets, etc.), and it never fails that someone not using monospace used too many tabs to line up something in their editor (or worse yet used spaces and/or had an unusual number of spaces set up for their tabs) because they had too many characters on a line that take up less space than the characters on the previous line.

I just generally prefer to use fonts that are both monospace and make it easy to tell the difference between l and 1, or 0 and O without having to double check it. I take the time to write them differently by hand, why shouldn’t the person that made the font do the same?


ClearType is specifically designed to blur the image at the precision of the output device - standard anti-aliasing is essentially the the same technique applied at the frame-buffer which may not match the device.

ie. The necessity of ClearType is proof that your display does not have the precision you desire.

I still use CRTs at home for the simple reason that no LCD can match the mighty Trinitron’s dotpitch. At work, I recently got a new LCD (SyncMaster 225BW) which has finally matched the clarity of the Trinitrons but only if I use it’s native resolution (1680x1050). The Trinitrons limiting resolution is far higher.

So, I hereby coin my conclusion thusly;

If ClearType makes any font look better on your display; your display is rubbish.


What about larger monospace fonts? My laptop’s natural resolution is 1680x1050, so in order to be able to see anything at all (!), I jack up my fonts to a minimum of 14pt, maybe 16pt.

I was looking around and couldn’t find ANYTHING that looked decent at 16pt; all the specialized programmer’s fonts (yes, that means you ProFont) are designed to look good at 8pt. Gross!

The question is: which one scales up better? Consolas is the obvious option, but are there others?


I alternate between Consolas and Vera Sans Mono. Both have details I like a lot. The half-serif lowercase L in Vera Sans Mono is brilliant; Consolas’ looptail lowercase G is gorgeous; the dotted zero in Vera Sans Mono is much less objectionable than the standard slashed zero; the curly quotes in Consolas are really, really obviously curled; and on and on.

Unfortunately, Consolas has no box drawing characters, which means I can’t use it as a terminal font.


Damn Aristotle, you said just what I was going to say!

Have a look at this screenshot (taken with Jing - recommended!). Consolas is missing the box drawing characters around the dialog box, but also the “scroll bar” along the bottom right, and even the right arrow at the top right.




LCDs are ONLY clear at their native resolutions. Anyway, I couldn’t use my 21" Trinitron at higher than 1280x960. I really can’t accept that any electron-gun device can be more precise than a reasonable quality LCD. In my view, LCDs are too crisp without ClearType. I find ClearType makes the text look more “robust”, more like printed text than without, LCD or CRT.

My choice of font is Monospace 821 BT. I’ve tried Consolas, but I find that the 10pt size, which should be the size I want, is no larger than the 9pt. 11pt is too big. Anyone else feel like they left out 10pt?


courier fits fine, don’t need another font.


I’m pleased that you included Pragmata. I seriously thought nobody knew about that one. It’s the only font I ever actually paid money for, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to code in since way before Consolas ever came out.

As for Consolas, it is extremely readable and a fitting standard programming font, albeit clearly lacking in personality. :slight_smile:


Yeah, I also see that Inconsolata image all blurred up; surely the font can’t be that bad.


Courier New all the new.
I don’t like any of the other fonts, but I guess that’s mostly because I’m really used to Courier New.


I listened to advise and set Consolas as my programming font. Nowadays I prefer Comics, it creates a warm fuzzy feeling inside and I get a lot of attention from coworkers. Try it - you might love it.


You should try to Lucida Console font which comes with windows.
It looks great with ClearType.


Have you tried the IBM3270 font? I’ve been using it for a pretty long time now. Similar to Consolas and very easy to read.


Looks best when the size is set to 12. Here’s the example:



I also use lucida console, 9pt. It allows me to have more code on the screen than with consolas. I also think that cleartype and consolas on lower point sizes is pretty bad (but that’s personal preference I think). (I use 20.1" monitors, 1600x1200 TFT)


The only thing better than Comic Sans in your code is Arial. :wink:

Seriously, I don’t know if I’ll ever give up Andale Mono, but I’ll admit that at this point it’s just 7 years of familiarity. Although it really looks quite similar to Inconsolata, with Verdana’s x-height. Speaking of, I’ve become accustomed to mixing Verdana and Andale Mono these days, sans-serif doesn’t pain me like it did before cleartype.

I just noticed that my IDE is set to use Comic Sans for comments. SWEET.


Just shows how little coders are valued.

Engineering reduces coders to cheap components and eye sight damage does not matter much in the great scheme.


Am I the only one who uses Lucida Console? Admittedly it’s been a few years since I did my font search, but LC was the only typeface I found to be clear at small point sizes.