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What is Cascadia Mono and Why You Should Try It


Cascadia Mono: A New Monospaced Font for Developers




If you are looking for a fresh and modern font for your coding projects, you might want to check out Cascadia Mono, a new monospaced font from Microsoft that is designed to enhance the look and feel of the Windows Terminal, Visual Studio Code, and Visual Studio. In this article, we will explore what Cascadia Mono is, how it differs from other fonts, what features it offers, and how to download and install it.




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What is Cascadia Mono and why it is useful for developers




Cascadia Mono is a version of Cascadia Code, a fun new coding font that was developed alongside Windows Terminal. Cascadia Code features optional programming ligatures, which are special symbols that combine common character sequences in programming languages into single glyphs. For example, the characters


However, not everyone likes ligatures, or they may not be supported by some applications or environments. That's why Cascadia Mono was created as a version of Cascadia Code that doesn't have ligatures. This way, you can enjoy the same clean and modern design of Cascadia Code without any distractions or compatibility issues.


Another difference between Cascadia Mono and Cascadia Code is that Cascadia Mono preserves characters as entered, without any substitutions or modifications. This means that you can see exactly what you typed, without any confusion or ambiguity. For example, if you type iI1lL0Oo, you will see exactly those characters in Cascadia Mono, while in some other fonts they may look very similar or identical.


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Features of Cascadia Mono




Besides being a monospaced font without ligatures, Cascadia Mono has some other features that make it a great choice for developers. Here are some of them:


  • Embedded Powerline symbols: Powerline is a popular plugin that adds extra information to your command-line prompt, such as git status, current directory, etc. It uses some special symbols to display this information in a compact and colorful way. However, not all fonts include these symbols, which may cause them to appear as missing or broken characters. To solve this problem, there is a version of Cascadia Mono called Cascadia Mono PL that has embedded Powerline symbols. This way, you can use Powerline without any font issues.



  • Stylistic sets and cursive variant: Cascadia Mono supports OpenType features that allow you to customize the appearance of some characters or glyphs. For example, you can enable stylistic sets to change the shape of some letters or numbers, such as zero with or without a dot inside, or lowercase i with or without a dot. You can also enable the cursive variant of the italic style, which gives a more handwritten look to the italic text. To enable these features, you need to use an application that supports OpenType features, such as VS Code.



Additionally, Cascadia Mono has excellent hinting quality, which means that it looks sharp and clear on different screen resolutions and sizes. Hinting is a process that adjusts the pixels of a font to make it more legible and consistent. Cascadia Mono has been carefully hinted to ensure optimal readability and aesthetics.


How to download and install Cascadia Mono




If you want to try Cascadia Mono, you can download it from the GitHub releases page or from the Windows Terminal package. The GitHub releases page has the latest version of the font, while the Windows Terminal package has the version that is bundled with the terminal. You can also find the source files and documentation on the GitHub repository.


To install Cascadia Mono, you need to unzip the downloaded file and copy the font files to your fonts folder. On Windows, you can right-click on the font file and select Install for all users. On Mac, you can double-click on the font file and select Install Font. On Linux, you can copy the font file to /.local/share/fonts or /usr/share/fonts.


Once you have installed Cascadia Mono, you can set it as the default font in your preferred editor or terminal. Here are some examples of how to do that:


  • VS Code: Open the settings.json file and add or edit the following lines:



"editor.fontFamily": "'Cascadia Mono', 'Courier New', monospace", "terminal.integrated.fontFamily": "'Cascadia Mono', 'Courier New', monospace",


  • Windows Terminal: Open the settings.json file and add or edit the following lines under the profile section:



"fontFace": "Cascadia Mono", "fontWeight": "normal",


  • Visual Studio: Go to Tools > Options > Environment > Fonts and Colors and select Cascadia Mono as the font for Text Editor and Output Window.



Conclusion




Cascadia Mono is a new monospaced font from Microsoft that is designed for developers who want a clean and modern font without ligatures. It has many features that make it a great choice for coding, such as embedded Powerline symbols, stylistic sets, cursive variant, variable weight options, and hinting quality. It is easy to download and install, and you can use it in various editors and terminals.


If you are looking for a new font for your coding projects, why not give Cascadia Mono a try? You might be surprised by how much it improves your coding experience. You can also provide feedback or suggestions to the developers on the GitHub repository, where you can also find more information about Cascadia Mono and its license.


FAQs




What is the difference between Cascadia Mono and Cascadia Code?




Cascadia Mono is a version of Cascadia Code that doesn't have ligatures. Ligatures are special symbols that combine common character sequences in programming languages into single glyphs. For example,


What are Powerline symbols and how to use them?




Powerline symbols are special glyphs that are used by Powerline, a popular plugin that adds extra information to your command-line prompt, such as git status, current directory, etc. Powerline uses these symbols to display this information in a compact and colorful way. However, not all fonts include these symbols, which may cause them to appear as missing or broken characters. To solve this problem, there is a version of Cascadia Mono called Cascadia Mono PL that has embedded Powerline symbols. This way, you can use Powerline without any font issues.


How to enable the cursive variant of the italic in VS Code?




Cascadia Mono supports OpenType features that allow you to customize the appearance of some characters or glyphs. One of these features is the cursive variant of the italic style, which gives a more handwritten look to the italic text. To enable this feature in VS Code, you need to open the settings.json file and add or edit the following line:


"editor.fontLigatures": "'ss03'",


What are the other versions of Cascadia font available?




Besides Cascadia Mono and Cascadia Code, there are other versions of Cascadia font available. These are:


  • Cascadia Code PL: This is a version of Cascadia Code that has embedded Powerline symbols. It is useful for those who want to use ligatures and Powerline together.



  • Cascadia Mono Italic: This is a version of Cascadia Mono that has an italic style. It is useful for those who want to use italic text without ligatures.



  • Cascadia Code Italic: This is a version of Cascadia Code that has an italic style. It is useful for those who want to use italic text with ligatures.



How to contribute to the development of Cascadia font?




Cascadia font is an open source project that welcomes contributions from anyone who is interested in improving it. You can find the source files, documentation, and issues on the GitHub repository. You can also join the discussion on the GitHub discussions page or on Twitter using the hashtag #CascadiaCode. If you have any suggestions, feedback, or bug reports, you can create an issue or a pull request on GitHub. You can also fork the repository and make your own modifications or additions to the font.


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