Which font for the screen?

Which font is best to read on the screen, only on the screen? With serifs or better without? What line spacing? Every few years I have the impression that a different one might be better. :thinking: Helvetica, Avenir, Verdana?

What do you think?

It’s really up to you, your eyes, resolution of your screen, etc.

Me: I have a mac with Retina and I prefer Serif’ed fonts.

For some reason, it’s popular to use non-Serif’ed fonts these days. Dunno why. I guess some think it looks better, more modern, or something–especially when looked by a designer as opposed to a reader.

For me reading is easier with Serifs.

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I use Consolas, on screen, that I compile to Courier New when revising a draft on print.
Consolas I find to offer a clear outline of the letters, easy to read. Not bold, but boldish.
Courier new on print because it spreads the words, lots of spacing → good for longhand editing.
1.0x line spacing on screen (paragraphs 10pts space after), 1.5x for print (so I can write in-between lines).

Try things.

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If you google “free fonts” there is a lot.
They don’t all work fine (some do weird stuff when selecting a word or inserting the cursor in a sentence – don’t waste your time with those, uninstall them, it is not you doing anything wrong), but many are interesting.

If you open a project on a machine that doesn’t have a font used installed, Scrivener will use Arial.

Thank you very much @Vincent_Vincent and @rms , I’ll take a closer look. So much choice. And I still don’t know whether I can read fonts with or without serifs better. I don’t even know when I see two examples next to each other :joy:

For most of the years since early 1990s when I bought my first Mac, I always used Adobe Garamond (Pro) for everything, as that came with Pagemaker and InDesign. Even though I can no longer afford ID, I still have the font and most of my output to RTF or PDF uses that, apart from any RTFs I need to share, for which I use TNR for compatibility. But recently, as my eyes are aging, I’ve been trying different fonts on screen, Palatino, Optima, and recently Avenir.

Still haven’t settled for my screen font of choice, but I’m moving towards sans-serif hinted fonts.


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Because it doesn’t matter (to you).

I’d suggest not googling for “free fonts” – that brings up a lot of pirated and broken stuff – but as a start directly use Google Fonts. This also eliminates the need of downloading / installing to try those fonts.

That’s literally the worst interpretation of Courier known to mankind. Why. :see_no_evil:

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Because I googled “free font” and got stabbed in the eye by a font pirate.
Now I need my letters spread apart, else with one eye left (left eye left) I can’t read.

Yeah, but why “Courier New” specifically? I see the appeal of Courier, I use it myself.

It would be against house policies for me to repeat myself by saying that it is because it spreads the words, giving lots of space for longhand editing, so perhaps read up my previous post ?

I don’t understand how it spreads the words in other / better ways than other Courier offspring fonts. It’s the worst among them, so there’s maybe a reason that makes it work better for you (instead of say Courier Prime, Courier Screenplay, etc.)

Less ink.
. . . . . . . .

I only have prime and new, and I preferred “new” for the above reason. (As far as I can remember.)
It has been my printout setup for so long… can’t be sure.

Okay, that’s a valid reason.

Microsoft says that Verdana is by far the best screen font (scientifically tested :man_shrugging:). Could it be that they say that because the font is theirs?

Screw science. Trust your own eyes.
And give them time to adapt in-between fonts.
First filter a few, but after that, give yourself a couple of hours trying one before moving on to the next.


@fto Maybe someone should tell Microsoft, because they accidentally A change of typeface: Microsoft’s new default font has arrived | by Microsoft Design | Microsoft Design | Medium

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Does anyone know Mukta Mahee light (whatever that means)? I like it … nice and slim … but could be a bit narrower.

Interesting. Can you explain why?

As someone with Scotopic sensitivity syndrome (sometimes caller Meares Irlen Syndrome) I had to find the best conbination of font, fore-/back-ground colour, size, etc that suits me. Thankfully after much experimentation I found that a tradition white background with black text works well for me provided that the font is Gill Sans at 14pt. This is what I have as the default in Scrivener (and override all web sites to give me the same).

If a publisher has a house style for submissions then I create a compile format specifically for documents I send to them. Once I am happy with my text in Scrivener I compile using that format and then despatch it to the publisher. I never look at the compiled version — it would cause my SSS to fire causing cognitive overload.

All of which is the long way of saying play around with Scrivener and find what suits you even if everyone else disagrees.


Thank you for your kind words, @reepicheep. I’m glad you’ve found what works best for you.

After days of trial and error, I came to the same conclusion as you. Except that the font in my case is Avenir Next :slightly_smiling_face: