We see sans-serif and serif fonts everywhere, from the web to printed books and newspapers. I'm wondering why monospaced fonts are not popular outside coding context?

Here is a simple comparison I made using Pair & Compare:

We know that for monospaced fonts, letters and characters each occupy the same amount of horizontal space. Doesn't this make monospaces fonts easier to read?

  • 3
    Choosing monospace fonts, like everything else, is a design decision and monospaced fonts are, in my opinion, not as attractive as other fonts for most uses. Nowadays they are usually chosen for code because they display important character differences, such as zero and O, differently enough.
    – Rob
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 13:22
  • 9
    On the contrary—monospaced fonts are harder to read precisely because each letter occupies the same amount of horizontal space. Thereby, there is one less factor that differentiates letters, which makes it harder to tell them apart.
    – Tin Man
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 14:01
  • 1
    This is a duplicate. See ux.stackexchange.com/a/48777/65321 (the answer is that proportional fonts are slightly faster to read)
    – Chris
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 14:36
  • @Rob: In some cases, monospaced fonts may be easier to read with precision than common proportionally-spaced fonts. Including long flags on "I" and "l" within a proportionally spaced font will create awkward amounts of space to the sides of those characters, but such space would not all attention to itself in a proportionally spaced font. I think a bigger issue is that a monospaced fonts which is wide enough to make "M" and "W" legible will make most other letters use up much more space than they otherwise would.
    – supercat
    Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


I think that the main reason is legibility.

Monospace are designed to make characters easy to read and find in hundreds of lines of code. In the other hand, serifs and sans serifs fonts are designed to be used to improve legibility in large amount of texts, example books, magazines, and so on.

This text may help you: Proportional Vs. Monospace Fonts

Benefits and Disadvantages of Monospace Fonts Setting text in a monospace font makes it easier to identify characters by themselves. Because of this, tasks that rely on the easy identification of specific characters, such as programming, benefit from the use of a monospace font. Similarly, a monospace font may be used to format code examples within a page that is otherwise set in a proportional font, in order to make them stand out more easily. Text set in a monospace font is also easier to align, leading to the creation of images constructed using characters, known as "ASCII art."

On the other hand, because of the fixed width of all the characters, a block of text set in a monospace font will typically take up more space than the same text set in a proportional font. Additionally, long stretches of monospaced text can blend together visually and, as a result, become harder to read.

  • 2
    Monospaced fonts are also useful when trying to show tabular data in contexts that don't support proper tables.
    – supercat
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 21:27

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