Microsoft released a new open source font today on the company's GitHub website. The new font, called Cascadia Code, was announced at Microsoft's Build event in May.
It is a monospaced font designed specifically for code editors, development environments as well as terminal applications.
Microsoft developed it "hand in hand" with the new Windows Terminal application that the company released as a preview in June 2019. The font is available as a standalone download and will also be included in the next Windows Terminal application update according to Microsoft.
Windows users who download the font to their system can right-click on it to install it right away or select preview to display a preview window.
The preview displays all major characters of the font as well as how it looks in different font sizes. The window has a print and install button to print it out or install it from the window as well.
Users who use other operating systems may install the font as well. How that is done depends on the Linux distribution; Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based systems accept the command fc-cache -f -v to install new fonts that have been put into font directories.
The font distinguishes clearly between 0, o and O, and I and l which helps reduce the number of character-based errors, e.g. mistyped variables, significantly.
Cascadia Code supports programming ligatures. These may work out of the box in some development environments and need to be enabled in others. Developers who use Visual Studio Code need to enable Ligatures in the settings to use them in the programming environment.
Ligatures combine characters when you write them. For example, if you type != you get ≠, and when you type >= you get ≥ instead which may improve readability of the code.
The name comes from the Windows Terminal project initially as it was known as project Cascadia internally at Microsoft. The company did not just pick the name but polled users on Twitter and Cascadia won the vote (beating Cedar, Emerald, and Seattle in the process albeit some by a slim margin).
Microsoft added Code to the name of the font to indicate that it was designed specifically for coding purposes, but it can certainly be used for other purposes as well.
The font's version follows the Windows versioning scheme; the first release version of Cascadia Code is version 1909.16 indicating that it was released on September 16, 2019 to the public.
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