As soon as I saw Menlo I knew it was going to be my new favorite programming font. Just a couple weeks ago I gave Bitstream’s Vera Sans Mono a try, and it didn’t work for me, so I wondered what the difference was. You’ve probably seen the high resolution comparison already. But I don’t code in size 64 font; I program I code in size 11 font. Here’s an animation of some real code switching between Menlo and Vera Sans Mono.
Menlo is the one with the slash through the zero, while Vera Sans Mono has a dot in the zero. You can see that a lot of characters (“M”, “N”, “l”, “#”, and all the punctuation) look way too light and blurry in Vera Sans Mono, but look great in Menlo. The just look at how blurry that octothorp is in Vera Sans.
When Gruber asks, who can say no?
Here’s a comparison of Vera Sans Mon and Coda’s variant. Coda has the higher, longer underscores and the slightly lighter weight. I don’t really like how Coda is so thin that anti-aliasing kind of greys out the text. If you blow it up (or look at it with Digital Color Meter), then you’ll see that very few of the pixels are close to black.
And here is an image with all three. Vera Sans, Menlo, and Coda in that order. Menlo has the zero with the slash, so you can keep track of which is which. (I intentionally omitted a key from the image, because I wanted to focus on how the text changed without distraction.
You can download the gifs and open them in Preview if you want to page back and forth manually. It will give you each image as a separate page, and you can switch back and forth using the arrow keys. (This is also a great way to do an impromptu slideshow. Open a directory full of images, hit
⌘-A to select them all, and hit
⌘-O to open them in Preview.)