You may have not given much thought to the font you currently use for coding before. You are probably happy with the default monospaced font that comes with your favorite IDE and over time have become accustomed to it. These fonts may be the best font for you, but are they actually good for general coding? I would never tell you which font is good (currently I am using Ubuntu Mono Regular) or bad, as there is no way to categorically measure it. It does come down to each individual coders preference. But there are certain fonts freely available that have been designed purely with programmers and coders in mind.
With this post I just wanted to highlight some of the best free monospaced fonts that have been optimized for programming and to also offer some basic pointers for selecting a particular font.
So what should you be looking for in a good monospaced programming font? For starters it has to be clear and highly readable, proportionally-spaced, and for obvious reasons, needs to come packaged with an extended characterset with distinguishable glyphs. And perhaps more importantly than legibilty, the ’1′, ‘i’ & ‘l’ and ‘o’, ’0′ & ‘O’ have to be clearly identifiable as different characters. It is using this base criteria that I selected the free fonts below.
Quick note: For the screenshots I had intended to preview the fonts in Sublime Text using example code, but this proved to be far too impractical as the screenshots ended up being far too large when attempting to properly show the code in action. Instead I opted to use Flipping Typical, a handy web-based tool for previewing the fonts you have pre-installed on your computer, using the basic characters you can see below. Hopefully this will still give you a decent visual overview of what each font offers.
Free Monospaced Fonts for Coding
Anonymous Pro by Mark Simonson (Regular, Italic, Bold, and Bold Italic)
Inconsolata by Raph Levien
Hermit by Pablo Caro (Light, Medium & Bold)
Edlo by Eric Hamiter
Meslo by André Berg (LG Small, LG Medium & LG Large)
Vera Sans Mono by Bitstream (Roman, Oblique, Bold & Bold Oblique)
Fira Mono by Mozilla (Regular & Bold)
PT Mono by Alexandra Korolkova (Regular & Bold)
Envy Code by Damien Guard (Regular, Italic & Bold)
Ubuntu Mono by Dalton Maag
Liberation Mono by Steve Matteson for RedHat
Fantasque Sans Mono by Jany Belluz (Regular, Italic & Bold)
Droid Sans Mono by Steve Matteson for Android
Consolas Mono by Microsoft
Drucifer Monospace by Drucifer
BPmono by Backpacker (Regular, Italic & Bold)
DejaVu (Regular, Oblique, Bold & Bold Oblique)
Monaco by Susan Kare and Kris Holmes for OS X