Most people prefer monospaced fonts for programming. A monospaced font is a font in which all characters have the same width. Such characters make it easy to vertically align variables, data, and other syntax structures for easier reading and comprehension.

Here are three of my favorite monospaced fonts which have been released under free licenses:


DejaVu Sans Mono

If you need support for a wide variety of scripts (Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Armenian, Georgian, and line drawing characters), this font is a great place to start.

The DejaVu fonts are based on the GNOME Bitstream Vera Fonts. Their purpose is to “provide a wider range of characters while maintaining the original look and feel.” They are maintained and developed by the DejaVu fonts team, and have been released into the public domain.

As you can see below, they are a little on the wide side, yet still easy to read—even when bold!

DejaVu Sans Mono
Click for larger view.

Inconsolata

Inconsolata is the first “serious original font release” from Raph Levien (creator of Advogato, an online community dedicated to free software development). He writes that he was “particularly struck by the beauty of Luc(as) de Groot’s Consolas,” which clearly demonstrated to him that “monospaced fonts do not have to suck.

Inconsolata is released under the SIL Open Font License, the official upstream is stored on Github, and the official release is available on Google Fonts.

Although I really enjoy this one for ASCII text, Inconsolata covers a fairly limited number of glyphs. Don’t be surprised if there are missing characters in line drawings or non-ASCII texts.

Inconsolata
Click for larger view.

Envy Code R

Envy Code R is a work-in-progress monospaced font by Damien Guard.

It contains “over 550 glyphs providing full complements for DOS, Windows and Mac versions of the US, Western, Central Europe, Turkish, Baltic, Icelandic and Nordic code-pages. This hits several Unicode ranges including Basic Latin, Latin-1 Supplement, Latin Extended A & B, Box Drawing, Block Elements, Letterlike Symbols, Number Forms, Arrows…

If you need support for non-ASCII glyphs, and you prefer fonts that are a little less wide, Envy Code R is a great choice.

Envy Code R
Click for larger view.

Iosevka

Iosevka is a slender monospace typeface (in sans-serif and slab-serif) by Belle Invis.

“Iosevka comes in regular, bold, italic and bold-italic with over 2000 Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, phonetic and PowerLine glyphs. An IosevkaCC variant is also provided, with several symbols enwiden, to be compatible with most CJK typefaces.”

If you prefer a narrower monospace font, this one is quite lovely.

Iosevka
Click for larger view.

I would like to conclude this post with a simple thank you to Mr. Guard, Mr. Levien, Belle Invis, and the whole DejaVu fonts team.


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