Beautiful Emacs

When you spend all day looking at code, it’s important to select a good editor font. Obviously, the font needs to be monospaced or the alignment will be all wrong. Well, there are only a handful of monospaced fonts worth looking at (and Courier is not one of them).

Take a look at the following image. Click on it, and pick your favorite of the four fonts.

Different fonts in Carbon Emacs

These are the fonts in the image, clockwise from the top left corner: Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, Andale Mono, Monaco, and Inconsolata.

Bitstream Vera Sans Mono is my second favorite. It’s the font I use on my web browser. However, for editing code, I find it a bit too heavy. This probably has more to do with my color scheme than the font per se, so your millage might vary.

Andale Mono is very readable, but I find the spacing all wrong and somewhat distracting. Look at the word “String”, the letters seem too far apart.

Inconsolata is my personal favorite. You need to crank up the font size because it seems to be a smaller font than the rest. I thought that point sizes were supposed to be standard, but apparently I was wrong.

Monaco is the default in Mac OS X, but it looks kind of silly. I used to use whatever was the default, so I’ve used this font quite a while. I never did mind it, but once I made the switch to Inconsolata, I can’t stand it anymore.

If you want to play with different fonts in Carbon Emacs, you can enable mac keys by running the (mac-key-mode) function, and then pressing ⌘T, which will open a standard font dialog.

However, if you want to use Inconsolata as your default font, put this in your .emacs

(require 'carbon-font)

It took me a while to figure out how to change the font on Carbon Emacs, so I hope that even if you don’t choose Inconsolata as your preferred font, this information might prove useful.

Written by ob

December 5th, 2007 at 10:23 pm

Posted in Emacs

Tagged with

6 Responses to 'Beautiful Emacs'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Beautiful Emacs'.

  1. Thanks for the tip and the elisp snippet, I’m trying out inconsolata now! :)

    Tim Daly Jr.

    17 Dec 07 at 12:29 am

  2. [...] fixing the font on my Carbon Emacs on Mac OS X, I’m spoiled with good fonts. Today I had to work on Windows [...]

  3. Thanks for the helpful explanation. My world is much more tolerable now.


    22 Jul 08 at 11:49 am

  4. mac-key-mode is a lifesaver here! Thanks!


    17 Jan 09 at 9:18 am

  5. [...] Bonilla wrote posts on how to prettify emacs for OS X and later on for Windows. The rather excellent EmacsW32 package is now based on a build of Emacs [...]

  6. The command for us without mac-key-mode enabled is mac-font-panel-mode. Not bound to a key by default.


    9 Apr 09 at 5:49 pm

Leave a Reply