AlternativeFonts

Of course, the Mac ships with the excellent Monaco font, created by Susan Kare in the 80s, and later updated to disambiguate 0 and O, l and I and 1, etc. But many users prefer other monospaced fonts. In particular, many feel that those similar-looking characters are still too close together in appearance (thus MPW, ProFont, and Anonymous are extremely close to the original 9 point monaco, with the main changes being disambiguation of these characters). If your favorite isn't listed here, feel free to add it.

Note that first-person statements were added to this page by several distinct people. :)

Free (as in speech)

  • Bitstream Vera Sans Mono and the other Bitstream Vera fonts are a set of fonts released under a free license by Bitstream. They are popular in Linux distributions. This is the font seen in the very popular Rails screencast.

  • The Dejavu fonts are based on the Bitstream Vera Fonts release 1.10, but provide a wider range of characters (including things like ⌘ and ⌥) while maintaining the original look and feel.
    They are developed openly.

  • Luxi MonoFonts.zip in this directory includes a number of useful fonts, including Luxi Mono, a very clean serif monospace font designed by Bigelow and Holmes (of Lucida fame) - very popular in the Linux world.

  • Inconsolata is a font designed for code in print format. It looks terrible when used on screen in Windows, but luckily looks amazing, even at small sizes on Mac OS X (and it prints just gorgeously).

  • Ubuntu Mono is a new font made for use in the Ubuntu Linux distro.

Free (as in beer) / donationware

  • Profont is a Monaco derivative which was originally designed to be more usable by programmers with inclusion of a slashed 0 and other letter disambiguations. Though Monaco picked up some of these features, many still prefer Profont. To avoid problems with ligatures, try the Profont X variant, which has the ligatures explicitly removed. This font is used in several of the Ruby on Rails screencasts.

  • Anonymous is a TrueType version of Anonymous 9, a freeware Macintosh bitmap font developed in the mid-90s by Susan Lesch and David Lamkins. It was designed as a more legible alternative to Monaco, the mono-spaced Macintosh system font. Works well at 10 pts with a theme like Espresso Libre

  • Anonymous Pro is a new version of Anonymous font.

  • The Proggy family of fonts includes several different sizes and varients to choose from. Highly legible Monoco-like font.

  • Triskweline Worked best for me at 13pt with anti alias off. Clear and incredibly readable with a color background (for example, Blackboard or Pastels).

  • MPW is Apple's font, used in the Macintosh Programmer's Workshop, and based on 9 point Monaco. It has clear distinctions between commonly-confused characters such as 0, O, I, l, 1, |, etc., though not as clear as ProFont. It was never designed to be used with antialiasing, or at sizes other than 9 point, but at least one user likes it at 10 pt, with antialiasing.

  • Monofur by Tobias Benjamin Köhler is a font with nice circular geometry (click link for a preview).

Commercial

  • Akkurat Mono is a commercial but VERY nice font to edit code with. I tried a lot of other fonts but always ends up using this one (11 pt, Anti Aliasing enabled)

  • Pragmata is neither free nor cheap but it is perfectly hinted and works wonderfully even at smallest font sizes, either with or without (my preference) anti-aliasing. It is considerably slimmer than your average monospaced font without compromising legibility. ''link broken 1/5/07''

  • PragmataPro is the successor of Pragmata, by the same author, optimized for programmers. It is very compact.

  • TheSans Mono Condensed fonts by LucasFonts pack more characters onto one line and look absolutely beautiful. They are commercial but well worth the price.

  • Consolas is a font created by [Luc(as) de Groot, i.e. LucasFonts, for] Microsoft for Windows Vista, and specifically for use on screens. Be aware though that the font is copyrighted by Microsoft. You are only supposed to use it if you have a valid Visual Studio license. However, if that doesn't bother you or you have a license, you can download it here.
    Now included in Microsoft Office 2008.

  • Lucida Typewriter Sans works pretty well for coding, though the lack of a slashed 0 is unfortunate.

See Also