Coding Horror

programming and human factors

Progamming Fonts

Mike Gunderloy's book Coder to Developer suggests, as part of configuring your IDE, that you explore programming specific fonts. I was intrigued, because I hadn't ever considered that. I've been using Courier New 9 for years. A little searching turned up a few links:

Lists of fonts are all well and good, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are code snippets in each font, without ClearType:

Andale Mono 9 point


Anonymous 9 point


Courier New 9 point


Lucida Console 9 point


Lucida Typewriter 9 point


Monaco 9 point


Pragmata 9 point


ProFont (fixed size bitmap)


Proggy Clean (fixed size bitmap)


Vera Sans Mono 9 point


I'm sure I missed some, but these seem to be the most popular ones. I am not listing a few I tested here and found so heinously bad in these conditions (9pt sans ClearType) that they didn't deserve any consideration.

I learned a few things in this experiment:

  1. I definitely have to have monospace fonts in my IDE. All of the above fonts are monospace.
  2. I don't care for anti-aliasing of any kind on a programming font. That goes for ClearType and plain old AA. Note that some fonts decide to antialias themselves even at 9 point!
  3. Bitmap fonts, such as Proggy, are very precise but don't scale. At all. So if you're programming on a large 1600x1200 or higher screen, that may be a factor. And the scalable fonts can look quite different at larger sizes!
  4. Proggy is my top choice for programming font, but it's fixed size and thus doesn't always work if I'm coding on a 1920x1440 display. If I need a scalable font, I like Lucida Typewriter and Pragmata.
  5. I don't recommend using Comic Sans as your programming font. Nor do I recommend dreaming up all new programming characters.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Exchange and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: