Do you spend a lot of time in a text editor, or just need good monospace fonts? Well, it’s the year 2020 now and it’s time to treat yourself. Here are some (mostly) free options that are waaaay better than the typical default choices.
This is a very distinctive and unique typeface, with a whopping 138 special ligatures for writing code. It supports four weights and corresponding italics. The x-height is generous and the letterforms are very opinionated. This is my current favorite choice, but it’s also my newest discovery.
Font Bureau has shared a fantastic set of fonts for code which I’ve enjoyed for some time. It is unique in offering both monospaced and proportional fonts, four different widths, and versions with and without serifs—more varieties than any others listed here. The type was designed over an 11-pixel grid, which makes for very geometric shapes that read well at small sizes.
When IBM decided to commission a typeface to represent their entire brand, it had to be a flexible choice. Plex includes a number of varieties, but the monospaced version is excellent for coding. It’s quirky and not necessarily intended for lots of coding, but I’ve been happily using it for that as well as for just writing longer pieces of text.
After nearly 20 years of borrowed fonts, Apple released its San Francisco typeface in late 2014, inspired by Helvetica and DIN. SF Mono, a monospaced variant, was released in mid-2016 and has been slowly appearing in many Mac and iOS apps. It’s a great choice for writing code and for text in general, and can be found online if you’re not on a Mac.
Hoefler & Company’s Operator font is the only pick on this list that actually costs money, but many find that it’s worth it. It’s very unique and fun, and the italic versions are striking. This is probably my overall favorite choice, especially when you follow online instructions to add code-specific ligatures to the font, which are not included by default.
Bonus pick! This is not a monospaced font at all, so you likely wouldn’t use it for coding, but Inter is so interesting that I felt like it belonged on this list. It’s a fantastic and extremely comprehensive typeface designed specifically for screens, and reminds me quite a bit of San Francisco. It’s a good choice to replace that if you need a font that can be used across all platforms with no restrictions.
If you’ve not already made all your New Year’s resolutions, go ahead and add “use a better typeface” to the list. I hope I’ve given you some good suggestions.