Just posting a quick tip about a topic that most people would probably not consider: changing your font in your IDE. I highly recommend Consolas on Windows, and the very similar Inconsolata on the Mac, which are by far the best fonts I've found for coding. It sounds a bit crazy, but a little thing like this can make a big difference in your productivity, especially when you're literally staring at it all day! Check it out compared to Courier New, a common default font:

Consolas / Inconsolata:




Now Courier New:




To me, the difference in sharpness and clarity is quite significant! Give it a try and see what you think.


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  • # Posted By James Allen | 4/3/08 12:59 PM

    Great idea Brian!

    I got my new laptop recently and have been trying to get Eclipse looking nice on the smaller screen. White's look quite grainy so I've changed the background colour to try and improve it. I also played with the font size somewhat but didn't know what font face to try out. I'll experiment with your recommendation and see how I go. I've definetely been getting some eyestrain so far.

    Oh and what background colour are you using? Could you post the hex reference please?

  • # Posted By charlie griefer | 4/3/08 1:19 PM

    hi brian:

    the first thing i do when i'm loading up a new machine is to install profont windows so i can use it in eclipse (currently have it set at font size 9)

    http://www.tobias-jung.de/seekingprofont/

    altho i'm noticing it's a little difficult to read when it's bolded (either eclipse or cfeclipse bold the keywords in SQL statements). i could change that in the eclipse preferences, but i might take consolas for a spin too. given the amount of time i spend staring at code, always on the lookout for good programming fonts :)

  • # Posted By Andy Matthews | 4/3/08 1:28 PM

    Just gave it a try and it's no dice for me. I'm using Verdana at 10 pt and it's perfect for me.

  • # Posted By Brian Kotek | 4/3/08 1:46 PM

    @James: I don't have an actual Hex code or anything, I just pick a very pale yellow from the color picker.

    @Charlie: I'm interested to see what you think after the switch.

    @Andy: Hey if you have one you like, stick with it! :-) I'm just pointing it out mainly for the folks who leave things set to the defaults. Veranda looks nice but it's a little wide for my taste.

  • # Posted By James Allen | 4/3/08 1:55 PM

    I really like that Brian - certainly an improvement over Courier New for readability.

    The next change is finding the 'perfect' background colour.. White is just awful on my laptop - far too difficult to work with which is why I generally favour a light yellow like you.. Just finding the right balance for the laptop display.

  • # Posted By Mike Henke | 4/3/08 2:13 PM

  • # Posted By charlie griefer | 4/3/08 2:27 PM

    @james - colorzilla says #ffffe1

  • # Posted By Dan G. Switzer, II | 4/3/08 2:27 PM

    @Brian:

    I tried Consolas a while back, but actually prefer the Dina font:
    http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Jibz/Dina/in...

    The thing that I really like over Consolas, was it was more compact and just as readable. This allows me to have more characters on the screen width-wise, which I really like.

  • # Posted By charlie griefer | 4/3/08 2:28 PM

    @james - colorzilla says ffffe1 (i tried with a pound sign in front of the hex, but got an error... so i apologize if this comes thru twice)

  • # Posted By Paul Marcotte | 4/3/08 2:48 PM

    I've had a thing for Bitstream Vera Sans for a while. Always use it on Mac, but haven't customized my editor on Windows (until now!)

    Thanks for the reminder that I don't have to settle for the default settings...

  • # Posted By Matt Quackenbush | 4/3/08 2:54 PM

    Brian,

    Thanks for pointing us to another option. Thanks to Charlie I've also been using ProFont for what seems like forever now, and like it a lot. I've installed Consolas and am giving it a test run. My first impression is that I am not sure I like it better, but I'm equally as unsure that I like it less. ;-)

    Matt

  • # Posted By charlie griefer | 4/3/08 3:06 PM

    @Brian: looking at it now. i'm on the fence at the moment. consolas definitely looks a bit sharper/more crisp than profont. the characters are a bit taller, which is ok, but they seem to be closer together too, which makes them appear a bit...well, bunched together.

    could just be a matter of "what one's used to" tho. i do like the crispness, so i think i'm going to stick with it for a bit to see if i can get used to the characters themselves.

  • # Posted By James Allen | 4/3/08 5:13 PM

    @Charlie

    Thanks for that although I grabbed the page earlier and grabbed the colour ref out so it's all good.

    I quite like Consolas - definetely better than Courier New. Though I'm going to check out the great links posted.. This is a great post..

  • # Posted By James Allen | 4/3/08 5:26 PM

    Right I tried Sheldon and Profont and Dina but I don't really like them as they don't seem to work with ClearType and so look too 'soft' if that makes any sense.

    Really liking how Consolas is looking on my laptop.

  • # Posted By Justin Carter | 4/3/08 6:29 PM

    Consolas is definitely my favourite fixed width font. For coding I use it at 10pt, I can fit more lines on the screen at once that way ;)

  • # Posted By Steve Bryant | 4/3/08 7:14 PM

    I have to go with Andy that Verdana looks better to me. Still, I can't believe how much difference a font makes and how little time it took me to make the change in Eclipse - definitely worth experimentation.

  • # Posted By duncan | 4/4/08 4:30 AM

    "This package is only intended for licensed users of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005" - is there any point me trying to install this if I don't have Visual Studio? I've been using Andale Mono in Homesite+ for a while after reading various recommendations of it. Not bad, although it sometimes seems to cut off the edge when the font is displayed in italics (e.g. in comments)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andale_Mono

  • # Posted By Dan O'Keefe | 4/4/08 7:48 AM

    Good tip - I remember doing this in Homesite. I am trying to change it in Eclipse, but when I go to Windows -> Preferences -> General -> Appearence ->Fonts & Colors, looks like you have to select the perspective that you want to change the font for, and I do not see CFEclipse in that last, even though that is what I use. Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Dan

  • # Posted By Ben Nadel | 4/4/08 9:32 AM

    I have to recommend Dina as well ! Awesome font for programming.

  • # Posted By Larry C. Lyons | 4/4/08 10:51 AM

    I prefer using Andale Mono, its very clear and crisp down to 8pt sizes.

    regards,
    larry

  • # Posted By John Paul Ashenfelter | 4/4/08 2:28 PM

    Another one that gets a lot of play on the Mac side of the fence is the set of (Google promoted) Droid fonts

    http://damieng.com/blog/2007/11/14/droid-sans-mono...

    I really like that one in Textmate for example. Haven't tried it in Eclipse.

  • # Posted By Lola LB | 4/14/08 6:48 AM

    I would recommend Deja Vu Sans. One of the best fonts that I've come across for programming. It's really easy on the eyes, especially when you've been staring at the computer screen for a long time and you have bad eyesight. You can get it from here - <http://dejavu.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_...;. Open source, and constantly being updated. Version 2.25 is scheduled to be released on April 13th.

  • # Posted By Jeff Price | 4/23/08 10:29 AM

    What a great thread! I made the switch to Consolas when I first saw this post. I've since revisited it and gave Dina and Deja Vu a shot. I don't know if it's my LCD monitor or my aging eye sight, but Consolas is far and away the best for me. The other fonts appear too narrow and this causes problems on my monitor with their vertical components not all appearing the same width. Definitely pixelation problems.

    I wonder if I had a CRT if I'd feel different?

  • # Posted By Steve Bryant | 4/23/08 2:19 PM

    I have to reverse my earlier opinion and say that after having given it a fair shot, I really do like Consolas quite a lot (better than Verdana, certainly).

  • # Posted By James Allen | 4/23/08 7:26 PM

    @Jeff

    I totally agree! I switched fonts on my laptop when I first read the blog post and find Consolas a fantastic font. Initially my new laptop was giving me eyestrain in Eclipse and I thought it might not be a viable development platform... I've now found that I do much of my best work sitting in my recliner with the laptop, Eclipse and Consolas.. ;)

    I did try the other fonts mentioned, but like you they just didn't feel right..

    Thanks again Brian for a superb post.

  • # Posted By Brian Meloche | 5/11/08 8:54 PM

    I have tried several developer fonts, including most mentioned here, but the one I keep going back to is OCR A Extended 9pt. I find that very readable, and is great in almost every editor I use. The only one that doesn't recognize it is E, which says it's not monospaced. It is a monospaced font, so I'm not sure why it doesn't recognize it as such. Many other editors look at some of these fonts as blurry, including Consolas, which I tried in both Dreamweaver and Eclipse.

  • # Posted By Roger Lancefield | 5/22/08 2:50 PM

    I'm developing on Ubuntu these days and don't have access to Consolas. But GNOME comes with the very nice Bitstream Vera Sans Mono (and the identical DejaVu Sans Mono) , which, like Consolas is smoother and less coarse than Courier New. In fact, looking at the images of Consolas on Wikipedia, it looks very similar to Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, with (from the characters used in the sample) only the angle brackets looking noticeably different to my eye. I agree, both sets look far superior to Courier New.