By Kevin Yank

Sweeten your source with the best monospaced fonts

By Kevin Yank

Programmers like me spend all day looking at code, so it makes sense to take a few minutes to find the font that works best for you. The problem is that, for whatever reason, monospaced fonts (the fonts used to display code, in which all characters have the same width) have always been difficult to track down.

Thankfully, Trevor Lowing has done the hard yards and assembled comparative bullet-point reviews of what he considers to be the top monospaced fonts. You can read his assessment of each font, preview it in a code-oriented screenshot, and even compare the fonts side-by-side.

Download links are provided for all the fonts he reviews, which suggests he has confined his review to freely available fonts.

His top choice of Bitstream Vera Sans Monospaced is a little narrow for me, but Apple’s Monaco (4th place) is certainly a pleasant change from Courier New. jEdit, my editor of choice has never looked better!

Which is your favourite?

  • Lachlan

    I use ProggyClean with jEdit. Doesn’t seem to rate very highly on the list, but I love it :)

  • Monaco is excellent for code work. Nice to see it mentioned.

  • Wow, the proggy fonts are pretty cool. You can even get versions with bold punctuation, so things like dots and braces stand out in your code.

  • I too liked Monaco from that list but I am going to give ProggyClean w/ bold punctuation a run.

  • Dr Livingston


    Ain’t a font just a font though?

  • Just a font?! Harumph!

    /storms off in a typographic huff

  • i’m still a sucker for courier. need to see a compiled list though.
    it’s great because it’s like designing for yourself. only you have to like it.

  • MiiJaySung

    I like to use Monaco a lot on the Mac and Windows myself, but it gets hard to read if it is antialiased when it’s small. On Linux I like bitstream sans, and it still looks good with anti aliasing.

    Can’t stick Courier. I’ve seen VB coders use Verdana before, which is a crime when you consider that it’s not monospace. Then again, people who use VB are dumb (rule of thumb / generalisation ;)), so I guess you can’t expect any more from them :P

    Proggy fonts are too small to see on my monitor and I have a low DPI being on a dual 22inch setup at home

  • This post made me change from Courier Defaults :)
    Tested Bitstream, Monaco and ProggyClean at my ZDE. Liked ProggyClean with bold punctuation most of all :)

  • Anonymous

    Try these free ones here too:
    Raster Fonts

  • zrlaszlo

    Most of them are really nice, but I need two things they lack:

    1. Eastern European characters, especially hungarian ones (a few ones have them), and…
    2. Open Type stuff, like Oldstyle Proportional Numbers.

    I am editing LilyPond files in jEdit, and the Open Type features just don’t display in the editor. Is there a font that does it under jEdit?
    Any suggestions to

  • Aux

    Currenlty I’m using Microsoft’s Consolas font, which is a clone of Lucida Console improved for ClearType and coding.

  • Tim

    Is it just me or do all of the font samples images look the same? It’s not me, *because they are the same*! What a bunch of crap.

  • Is it just me or do all of the font samples images look the same? It’s not me, *because they are the same*! What a bunch of crap.

    Tim, firstly the post is almost two years old, and things on the web aren’t carved in granite.

    Secondly, if you look carefully all font examples are on the same GIF, but they are different. It appears the mechanism in the URL that jumps you to the right part of the file isn’t working.

    Regardless, an unnecessary overreaction on your part.

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