Monospace fonts compared


I had used Andale Mono since it was, until about a year ago when I switched to Sheldon. I really like Sheldon, but its character set isn't as complete as Andale's so every once in a while when I was editing something more HTML-ish than code-ish I'd get some "unknown character" blocks. It would be good to see samples side by side like this using a fuller complement of characters.
Since these fonts are all being compared for programming use, you'd think that they would have used some programming idiom to represent them. Personally, I have trouble seeing the difference between periods and commas, semi-colons and colons. Seeing something like:

Dog dog;
Fox* fox;
if (!::JumpsOver(fox, dog))
// WTF? do something here

(that was surprisingly fun to write)
It's a shame jmk's 'neep' isn't widely available in non-X formats; it gets left out of most of these comparisons despite being (imho, of course) easily in the top tier. And it _is_ possible to convert it to Windows formats, although I don't remember how I did it (or even for sure that it was me who did).
Courier New isn't bad, but consider that..

- it has the "can I tell 1 from l or L?" problem, BIG time

- it's among the least readable fonts you can put on a computer screen
Jeff: I can't recall a time in my almost 30 years of coding where I had a bug due to confusing a one with an ell or a pipe. I can recall many times when I was annoyed while coding because I thought the text I was looking at was ugly. I'll never use a font with a dotted zero, for example. Yuk.

And monospaced fonts are *all* among the least readable, so I don't count that against Courier. In the sample you point to, Courier is the only monospaced font included. It could well be that Courier is the most readable of all the fonts compared.

In any case, I'm trying out Lucida Sans Typewriter. It's more compact than Courier, so I can see more code at once.
I used Lucidia Sans Console for a long time, and then I think I switched to "", aka Andale Mono. But the new font to beat--especially if you're on an LCD screen and turn on ClearType--is Consolas. It's a new font designed by Microsoft Typography especially for programmers. It is incredibly well-hinted, particularly for ClearType.

It's only officially available as part of the Windows Vista betas. But some wily haX0rs have zipped 'em up and made them available for download. I recommend you thake them up on their offer.


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