Adobe releases open-source coding typeface

Adobe's Paul D. Hunt announces the company's latest open-source typeface. This one's for coders and anyone else who loves legible monospaced figures—and who hates getting confused between l, 1 and I.

To my eye, many existing monospaced font suffer from one of three problems. The first problem that I often notice is that, many monospaced fonts force lowercase letters with a very large x-height into a single width, resulting in overly condensed letter forms which result in words and text with a monotonous rhythm, which quickly becomes tedious for human eyes to process. The second problem is somewhat the opposite of the first: many monospaced fonts have lowercase letters that leave too much space in between letters, causing words and strings to not hold together. Lastly, there is a category of monospaced fonts whose details I find to be too fussy to really work well in coding applications where a programmer doesn’t want to be distracted by such things.

Download the family at SourceForge. Previously.


  1. this looks like a proper boon to those of us sitting between Fortran (yep, really) and more.. modern implementations.  but(!) how’s the visibility shift from a period to a comma?  .,,., ?  (and forward tick and backward tick for the win  ‘ `”'”`’ ‘)

  2. I’ve only been waiting 25 years for this font, ever since I switched from a video terminal to a Mac.

    Why isn’t a useful programming font standard on all computers? 

    And why does Windows use a proportional font with such a narrow i in its filename windows that I can’t reliably click on the correct character?

    1. Most Linux distributions come with Vera Sans Mono/DejaVu Sans Mono, which I think is an excellent coding font. OS X has Menlo, which is a slightly-tweaked version of the same. And Windows has come with Consolas, which is similarly excellent and has a wonderful true italic, since Vista. So there are some inbuilt options that aren’t Courier New, thankfully :)

  3. Nope, I’m not convinced. It might be that since switching from terminals, I’ve simply gotten used to Courier/Courier New, and can’t imagine coding in anything else, but I don’t think so. Here is how some of my code usually looks (in Notepad++):

    Here’s how it looks with the new font:

    It’s certainly prettier, but I don’t care about pretty. The code is much less legible to me (though to be fair, I picked a particularly illegible and rough piece of code). 

    1. I guess it’s a matter of personal preference or the fact that if you have been reading code in Courier for decades, you are so used to it that it is easier for you to read for that reason alone. Much as it is easier for me to type on a qwerty keyboard, however little sense its layout actually makes.

      I think the new font is slightly more *legible* than Courier in the example you give. I don’t think it’s going to be the main factor in code *readability* for sure.

  4. How’s it compare to proggy, or any of these?

    1. As someone who writes code all day, I’m always on the lookout for a font that is easy on the eye. Came across that same article recently (great roundup, BTW) and tried them all out for myself. Inconsolata was by far my favorite. Tried Adobe’s new Source Code Pro this morning, Inconsolata is still the hands-down winner in my book. The Adobe font simply looks too squished.

  5. The zero reminds me a little of the proofreading font that is used by project gutenberg, only not hideously ugly.  (NB the hideous ugliness of DPCustomMono is actually a reasonable design feature to make mis-reading individual characters less likely even as part of a common word you might otherwise skim over. But you wouldn’t want to make it your default font for emacs I don’t think.)

    The Adobe one can get away with being quite pretty because compilers are better proofreaders than humans.

      1. none of these image embeds are working for me.  (too small and if clicked on one just goes to the same page ad-nauseum)   but at least the animated-gif background is gone today.  that’s something.

  6. Like many others I use courier for coding. Fonts that easily allows the distinction between l and 1 , 0 and O are essential.

    Why has times new roman become standard for scientific journals? The 1 and l are the same.

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