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Top Programming Fonts (hivelogic.com)
60 points by voxcogitatio on Jan 17, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 35 comments

I love DejaVu Sans Mono:


Which is a variant of Bitstream Vera Sans Mono:


However, right now, my new favorite font is Menlo that came with Snow Leopard. It's another variant of Bitstream Vera and it seems to work much better at smaller font sizes. Which is great for limited screen sizes (such as 1280x800 on a smaller laptop).

Menlo looks nice. There is a comparison between both at http://8.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_kozenpQvKP1qzus90o1_500.png

Wow, I hadn't noticed Menlo, thanks. I've been using Bitstream Vera Sans Mono for a while but I don't like how faint the hyphen is with anti-aliasing when I'm coding in haml – a problem that Menlo fixes.

If you love Incolsolata, but hate the curl of the quotes (single and double), see here: http://nodnod.net/2009/feb/12/adding-straight-single-and-dou...

(It's posted in the comments to that article, but it may not jump out at people.)

I am a fan of Terminus. Very readable, crisp and works on both Linux and Win32 machines.


I have to add my love for Liberation Mono. https://fedorahosted.org/liberation-fonts/ Releases: https://fedorahosted.org/releases/l/i/liberation-fonts/

I recently had one of those "time to tweak my environment" days where I spent the entire day trying out monospaced fonts (DejaVu Sans Mono, Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, Envy, Terminus... everything I could find) in various color schemes in multiple editors (Win). I've now pretty much set any program where I need a monospace font to Liberation Mono 10pt.

However, I think Consolas looks better if I'm trying to fit more onto the screen. It looks better at smaller sizes than Liberation.

So I've settled on using 2 editors most the time with pretty similar features (Notepad++ & Programmer's Notepad), one loaded with Liberation Mono, the other with Consolas for files where I'd like to squeeze more lines in and keep decent readability.

Maybe there's a better way of doing things, but I like having two sorta different workspaces that I can quickly open.

The article says of Consolas: "Too bad it’s not free … if it was, it would be #1 on this list."

Consolas actually can be downloaded for free, legally. If you're on Windows, you can download an installer for the font directly from Microsoft at:


If you're on a Mac, slightly more effort is required. Instructions can be found at:


Though, actually, you don't have to use the Terminal. You can just right-click the XML File Format Converter installer, "Show Package Contents," and navigate to the font installer package.

This isn't true. You can download the file, but the copyright license only extends to licensed users of specific versions of Visual Studio.

Fair enough. You can, alternatively, download and install the trial version of Microsoft Office 2007.


I didn't even notice my terminal font until it being pointed out. So am I the only one perfectly happy with just Monospace?

Ubuntu? In that case, "Monospace" isn't really a font, but Bitstream Vera Sans Mono or DejaVu Sans Mono.

Ahh, thanks for pointing that out. I am indeed on Ubuntu. And I'm obviously entirely clueless about fonts; ignorance is bliss. :)

i still use the default xterm "fixed" font.

Consolas has pretty much overtaken all the rest in most of the reviews these days. It's a great font (esp. on OS X)!

I tend to prefer Consolas to Inconsolata. Consolas' glyphs feel like they have more uniform thickness throughout.

For me, requirements for a good programming font are:

- Easy to distinguish 1, l, and |

- Zero with a slash

- Lowercase g open on bottom (two circles is too cluttered)

Surprisingly, with those simple rules the only font on the list that gets all 3 is Monaco. (My personal choice, Menlo, also gets all 3.)

> - Zero with a slash

Debatable. Zero is typically narrower than uppercase O, so it is trivial to distinguish them even without the slash that merely adds to the visual noise.

Sure, but that assumes that you have a 0 and an O sitting right next to each other to compare. That said, the reason I don't like dotted-0 is because I feel it's too noisy. I think a slash is the right balance...but that's me ;-)

Anonymous Pro... http://hivelogic.com/articles/anonymous-pro-programming-mono... it's the best overall.

Agreed. All of the characters are perfectly balanced and fine-tuned. For example, #, /, and <> all look wonderful in code. Monaco messes that up, especially with /.

Takes a little bit to get used to using a serif monospace font though.

Oh my... 22 comments and no mention of Dina. What is happening to HN lately ? :-)


Maybe people are tired about arguing over which font is best every other day?

I have been using Envy Code R. From time to time, I change my font. I guess I need some variety.

I have a pet project of reproducing the IBM 3270 terminal font. I love those 6's and 9's.

I used to switch fonts between different ones all the time. About a year ago, I found Envy Code R. I haven't switched since. Easy to read, easy to tell the difference between zero and O, paren and curly brace, etc...


Thanks for this. I really like Inconsolata, but this is absolutely great. Best monospaced font I've seen.

I like MonteCarlo: http://bok.net/MonteCarlo/

I finally got around to spending a couple of hours configuring emacs 23 for the Mac. If I had fully realized that it supported native fonts now, and that Inconsolata would make me this happy, I'd have upgraded months ago.

I have used Schumacher Clean for ages, and find it awesome. Not sure it's available on Mac/Win, but it's very readable and clean (...). I mostly write LaTeX and C/C++ in Emacs on dark grey background.

I love that font and don't ever see it in any of these font reviews. My emacs is a very dark brown background and a light grey base face.

i agree, but did you notice that monaco 9 point without anti-aliasing in this article looks very similar? which seems like good news to me, because if schumacher disappears then there's something to fall back to...

True, monaco9 looks a lot like clean12. However, I use a 13point version for coding. It's a little taller and for that reason, in my opinion, clearer. If schumacher disappears, I should look for monaco 10pts, as I can't find it on my linux box...

I like Lucida Grande for code with lotsa text. I didn't know about Consolas, which looks great for code.

Pragmata is very nice, but I tend to stick with 6x13.

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