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.