Create a more condensed version of the font #12

digulla opened this Issue Sep 27, 2012 · 13 comments


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digulla commented Sep 27, 2012

The current version of the font looks wider than tall. While this helps with readability, it's about 20% wider than the default Ubuntu Monospace font.

I'd like a font version which uses horizontal space more conservatively.


pauldhunt commented Sep 27, 2012

Ubuntu Mono is the narrowest monospace font that I've seen, using 50% of the Em space for the advance width. The typical width for a monospace font is 60% of the Em and this is the value that I used for Source Code Pro. I doubt that we will get around to creating a more condensed variant anytime soon.

pauldhunt closed this Sep 27, 2012

digulla commented Sep 28, 2012

I didn't check this but you can probably answer this from the top of your head: If you have several lines of Source Code Pro and each has a different weight but the same height, will the characters still align?


miguelsousa commented Oct 1, 2012 edited by frankrolf

You can mix all the weights of the family and they will all align vertically (because they all have the same horizontal metrics).

digulla commented Oct 2, 2012

Okay, now the empty space in the font starts to make sense. When using other monospaced fonts, the bold version doesn't align with the "normal" version.

+1 for a more condensed version. I think Ubuntu Mono's spacing is too small and seems cluttered. But source code pro seems much wider compared with DejaVu Sans Mono. I have no experience in designing fonts and maybe too picky as a user.

Great package and thanks! :)

jilen commented Jan 23, 2014

+1 Source code pro is really to wider to me


frankrolf commented Jan 23, 2014 edited

This is an interesting request since Source Code Pro really is not wider than DejaVu Sans Mono. In fact, both fonts have the same pitch value of 12; this means that at a point size of 10pt, 12 consecutive characters will fit in an inch (the inch being 72 pt wide).

The only difference is the proportion of letters: The glyphs in Source Code Pro have a lower x-height; allowing for the forms to be visually wider, and a bit more natural-looking.

The consequence is that letters can look a bit wider despite occupying the same amount of horizontal space; and therefore make very wide letters (w, m, W, M) easier to handle for the type designer. In my opinion, this helps readability. Another consequence is that the lines of code have a tiny bit more space between them – a feature I find very comfortable.

See attached screenshot — DejaVu and SCP set below each other, both at the same point size.


The use case for a more condensed version is not so much when the font is being used in isolation, but when it is being mixed with proportional fonts. This happens a lot in technical documentation, for example. In such cases, you normally want the main font and the monospace font to have roughly similar x-heights, otherwise the lines end up with ugly bumps in them. But if the monospace font has a low x-height for its pitch, this means it looks uncomfortably stretched when set against the proportional font.

mixed fonts

In the image above, the pairs are

  1. Source Sans Pro / Source Code Pro
  2. DejaVu Sans / DejaVu Sans Mono
  3. Calibri / Consolas
  4. Droid Sans / Droid Mono

I think this works best when the medium-width letters (a, e, o, etc.) have about the same aspect ratio in both fonts: notably the case in lines 2 and 3 above. Line 1 does not look as harmonious to me.


frankrolf commented Jun 2, 2016 edited

This argument could go both ways. Of course your point is valid, SCP stands out in this case because of its wider proportions in comparison to SSP. But is that a bad thing?
Would it be beneficial to the reader to unify the appearance of the two typefaces, or would it be confusing? After all, proportional and monospaced fonts are supposed to convey two different things in the sentence.

Most implementations of code-within-text I’ve seen make an even clearer distinction, so the difference seen here could even be considered as a forte of SCP.

alex-ball commented Jun 3, 2016 edited

Well, two points on that. I used sans serif fonts in the example for a greater selection of comparators but in a printed context you would probably be mixing the (sans serif) monospace font with a proportional serif font, which usually gives sufficient contrast.

The other is that in a printed context you are more likely to be using full justification. Again, in code documentation you generally want to avoid hyphenating your quoted code words, and with a wider monospace font there are more chances of bad line breaks.

Just to be absolutely clear, I don't think anyone on this thread is saying SCP itself should be narrower. We're just registering the fact that there are cases where we would appreciate the option of a condensed variant.

dimitrieh commented Jan 2, 2017 edited

@jimbo1qaz why that font, it isn't more condensed is it?

Anyway, I would like to opt for a condensed version of Source Code Pro for this issue zeit/hyper#1331

a condensed font family setting for smaller viewports/shells

Currently i am using the font given here:

It looks taller than Source Code Pro at the same font size, which works much like condensing.

Sadly, it's missing lots of Unicode characters.

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