Ditching Monaco

This month marks the year since I purchased my 13″ Macbook and I have to say I’ve had fewer problems when my Mac than any other computer I’ve owned.

That also means I’ve been using TextMate as my primary editor for a year which has also been great. I can’t say that I like its functionality that any more than ViM’s but it sure does look better.

I’ve been using OS X’s default fixed width font Monaco up till now which is gorgeous but its been a year now and I’m ready to see what else is out there.

For reference this is a look at what TextMate looks like using Monaco. I’m using the Twilight theme.


The font I ultimately decided on is Inconsolata. It looks great at 14pt.


Note! I did a poor job with the screenshots and its hard to notice a difference but it’s there! Try switching your own terminal to Inconsolata 14pt to see the difference more clearly.

The way Monaco letters are very close together feels a little sloppy in places and while thats certainly part of its appeal, I’m ready to try something a little more defined. Inconsolata feels great so far. I’ve also switched Terminal.app to use Inconsolata and it looks great there as well.

I also tried a couple other fonts. Two of them were decent and worth considering. The first is Bitstream Vera Sans Mono which is my second choice after Inconsolata.

Bitstream Verva Sans Mono

LuxiMono also caught my eye but it feels a little too old school for my Mac.

Luxi Mono

For a list of other fixed width fonts that have been said to work well with TextMate check out the Alternative Fonts page on the TextMate wiki.

4 thoughts on “Ditching Monaco

  1. martin

    I also tried Inconsolata for a while but after looking at it for a couple of days finally found it to “curly” for my taste. I’m now using Liberation Mono, less deco but not as plain as Bitstream.

  2. Phil Crosby

    The problem with Inconsolata, at least in textamte, is its quote character. The quotes tilt to the left, like they’re print quotes, instead of being straight down like monaco’s quote. This makes it look like a typo, as if the wrong quote character was used.

  3. Rob Olson

    Phil- Since you mentioned it I checked the Inconsolata quote character in TextMate and you are right, they do tilt to the left. This never bothered me before but now I’m sure I will notice it constantly and it’s going to drive me insane.

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