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Improve your coding with 25 hyper legible fonts for programmers

By Paddi MacDonnell | Typography | Feb 20, 2014

The pinnacle of web development is hand-coding. No other approach delivers the same bespoke quality, performance and all round job-well-done-ness as rolling up your sleeves and digging into source code.

As a result, most of us spend all day everyday staring at markup, style sheets, and assorted server-side code. Despite this most of us leave our applications with their default settings. But with a simple change of font, scanning our code becomes far simpler.

Selecting an appropriate font for coding is a unique task, in that the only audience you have to consider is yourself. The only thing that counts is what works for you.

The challenge is that coding is unlike most written formats; whilst most text has fairly regular line lengths, even when set ragged, the nature of our programming languages means that line lengths vary from a single character up to many hundreds per line; you need to select a font that is easily scannable with distinct individual letters.

You also need to ensure that your font has a full complement of mathematical symbols, brackets and punctuation; any font that covers basic latin is usually enough.

Finally, you need to ensure that the characters are sufficiently distinct at a small point size. Common problems are distinguishing the number ‘1’ from the lowercase ‘l’ and the uppercase ‘O’ from the number 0.

The most common choices are monospaced fonts, as they create predictable line lengths and are traditionally used in technical data. However, the only rule is that you select a font that works for you. Pick the right one and your coding will be faster, easier to read back and less error prone.

 

Ubuntu Mono (free)

ubuntu

 

Century Schoolbook Monospaced ($24.75)

century

 

Droid Sans Pro Regular ($79)

droid

 

Consolas ($35)

consolas

 

Trim Mono Light ($54 approx.)

trim

 

Average Mono (free)

average

 

Excaliber Monospace (free)

excaliber

 

Briem Mono ($50 approx.)

briem

 

Blackbox Mono Superset ($149)

blackbox

 

Kettler Regular ($39)

kettler

 

Nimbus Monospace ($19.95)

nimbus

 

Pica 10 Pitch ($34 approx.)

pica

 

Prestige Elite Regular ($40 approx.)

prestige

 

ITC Souvenir Mono Light ($48 approx.)

souvenir

 

Typewriter Elite Regular ($29)

typewriter

 

Typiqal Mono ($29)

typiqal

 

Monospace Typewriter (free)

monospace

 

Isonorm Monospaced Regular ($54 approx.)

isonorm

 

Hermit (donation)

hermit

 

Inconsolata (free)

inconsolata

 

Deja Vu Sans Mono (free)

dejavu

 

Elronet Monospace (free)

elronet

 

Dina (free — Windows only)

dina

 

Profont (free)

profont

 

Monofur (free)

monofur

 

What font do you use for coding? Do different fonts work better for different programming languages? Let us know in the comments.

Featured image/thumbnail, programming image via Shutterstock.

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  • D. Mehta

    Does the font Coda not deserve it?

  • kelseynz

    I like Fira Mono, Gohufont, Ubuntu Mono and Inconsolata.

  • mike of the jungle

    nice writeup! my typecrush for coding is liberation mono. tasty on windows and breathtaking on mac, the quality of my code didn’t improve when I started using it, but it sure felt like it. get it here: http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/Liberation-Mono

  • http://www.kobusoft.com Bam Bam

    Source Code Pro, Droid Sans Mono, Ubuntu Mono, Menlo, Consolas

  • Matt

    I’ve been using Damien Guard’s Envy Code for years: http://damieng.com/creative/typography/envy-code-a

    Which reminds me, I ought to update to the most recent version.

  • http://www.clippingpathindia.com/clipping-path-service.html Bijutoha

    Wow! it’s an amazing story. I’m totally beginner on them.

  • derencius

    I have been using Cosmic Sans Neue Mono for a while. quite good, besides the name.

    • http://trevorlee.net/ Trevor Lee Reynolds

      I was sad to see that Cosmic Sans Neue Mono wasn’t mentioned too. A great font that I’ve been using for months! Love it!!!

  • jarek kr

    LOL why there is no Source Code Pro ? the best dev font imo

  • Raghav Kukreti

    Monaco people? It is used in TextMate and is an amazing font for programmers.