The font width is broken? Well, fix it!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/05/09 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

There are definitely times that people want to have a fixed width font. You know, times that you want the text to be like a grid and then you want every letter to fill one cell of the grid and have it all line up. Like in code windows, for example. Do you know what I mean? Do you ever want things to be that way, yourself?

Good, I can stop doing that now (since for the most part blog posts are not one of those times!).

So some people will test out 18 different fixed width fonts to try to decide which one they like best.

Other people are excited about the new Consolas font, so much so that they are not disuaded by the humorously scandalous claims about its name....

Those others I mentioned (like Glen) have pointed out that you can download Consolas if you are using Visual Studio 2005, though some of those who answered Glen's post in the comments have pointed out that the screen real estate can become an issue, and others (like Mike) prefer to be using good old Courier.

Personally, I am holding out for my dream font (Comic Sans MS Fixed), though this is most likely a pipe dream. But wouldn't it be cool?

(no, that is not a real font, but it would be cool, in my opinion -- not everyone wants to ban Comic Sans! But a guy can dream!)

I must admit that short of my dream coming true, my choice for the best fixed with font is the one that makes the best use of screen real estate and that looks good with my unusual color choices in code editors, and that I can put in the smallest sizes. And in quick tests, Consolas looks like a very promising choice on my laptop.

Though there are some languages that will never work properly with a fixed width font without a LOT of work and a willingness to sometimes negotiate only cells that line up and not single width per character (kind of like the CJK fonts do, but much more so). So unless you have several million dollars to burn, I don't think you will be able to pitch an Arial Unicode MS Fixed to a font foundry any time soon....


This post brought to you by "" (U+0d86, a.k.a. SINHALA LETTER AAYANNA)
Sinhala is one of those languages that would be non-trivial to build even a pseudo-fixed with font for....

# Surge on 9 May 2006 5:15 AM:

My ideal coding font would be ProFont

# Richard on 9 May 2006 7:23 AM:

> test out 18 different fixed width fonts

Only 18 :-)

Consolas is very nice, but does need ClearType, otherwise it is horrible. This is a shame when ClearType does not work across a terminal server session (and I use terminal services a lot). Hence use of Andale Mono as backup.

# mlippert on 9 May 2006 1:30 PM:

I've been using Lucida San Typewriter as my code font for what seems like forever now. I think I got it in an old MS Windows font package, and I've been moving it along as I upgraded ever since.

I don't know if it's available from anywhere else anymore.

And it would be nice to have a few more fixed width fonts to choose from.

# pelleplutt on 11 May 2006 4:42 AM:

My favorite code font of all times is the (Mac OS) bitmapped Monaco 9 (or the version with distint l and 1's - don't remember its name).
You could fit so much code onto a Mac 9" screen in MPW Shell...
Aaah, nostalgia

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referenced by

2010/12/25 "Comic Sans Fixed", that rather sansless dream-o-mine

2007/11/08 The [non-]progress of the über-fixed width fonts

2007/07/06 Look out for Font Rage

2007/04/23 How long is it in the console?

2006/08/23 What would a 'Kartika Fixed' font for Malayalam DO, exactly?

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