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We spent so much time working inside our code editors every day as engineers. Having a coding font that works for us while programming reduces our eye fatigue, increases productivity, and makes the code cleaner. In this post, we go over our favorite coding fonts and talk about the details of each, so you can decide which is the best for you. But first, for some background, let’s talk briefly about the history of monospaced fonts.
The History of Monospaced Fonts
Monospaced fonts are fonts with the same fixed width. The earliest form originated to suit the needs of mechanical typewriters, which had a carriage that moved the paper the same distance every time someone pressed a key.
Even though electric typewriters were introduced later with more choices of fonts, monospaced fonts stayed relevant. Their utilitarian functionality was easy to transfer to new technologies, especially the earliest computers because they had limited display capabilities.
Img: IBM Selectric is one of the most successful typewriters ever made. It allowed consumers to use multiple fonts. Source: wikimedia)
Nowadays, we find monospaced fonts in terminals and code editors like Sublime or VS Code as our coding fonts. Here are our top three favorites, featured on this website.
Fira Code is a great coding font. We love the ligatures in Fira Code. Typically, things like
=> would require two characters,
>. The ligature feature allows this combination of characters to be displayed as a single, connected character. Having ligatures reduces the noise and makes code blocks look extra neat and clean. Also, Fira Code has additional support for ASCII drawings and console UIs.
- Code-friendly ligatures for things like
- Crossbar numeric “0”
Img: Fira Code in use. Created by Nikita Prokopov.
Cousine is a favorite programming font of mine. Cousine is a sans serif that matches metrically to the width of Courier new. Being a sans serif, Cousine lacks the harshness of serifs and ornate details of letters. It looks very comforting to the eye in large blocks of code.
- Dotted numeric “0”
- Sans serif makes it easy reading
Img: Cousine in use. Created by Steve Matteson.
Jet Brains Mono
JetBrains is an impressive coding font with eight weights. One feature of this font is that the lowercase letters have maximized height. This feature reduces the length of code displayed in the editors, making the code more comfortable to read.
- Dotted numeric “0”
- Code-friendly ligatures
- maximized lowercase height and cut oval shape to make reading code easier
Img: Jet Brains Mono in use. Create by Jet Brains.
And that’s our favorites! Which coding font is the right one for you?
If you want more tips about fonts, check out our FontDiscovery newsletter.