Courier (typeface)

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ClassificationSlab serif
Designer(s)Howard "Bud" Kettler
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ClassificationSlab serif
Designer(s)Howard "Bud" Kettler

Courier is a monospaced slab serif typeface designed to resemble the output from a strike-on typewriter. The typeface was designed by Howard "Bud" Kettler in 1955, and it was later redrawn by Adrian Frutiger for the IBM Selectric Composer series of electric typewriters.

Although the design of the original Courier typeface was commissioned by IBM, the company deliberately chose not to secure legal exclusivity to the typeface and it soon became a standard font used throughout the typewriter industry. Since IBM deliberately chose not to seek any copyright, trademark, or design patent protection, the Courier typeface cannot now be trademarked or copyrighted and is completely royalty free.

As a monospaced font, in the 1990s, it found renewed use in the electronic world in situations where columns of characters must be consistently aligned. It has also become an industry standard for all screenplays to be written in 12 point Courier or a close variant. 12 point Courier New was also the U.S. State Department's standard typeface until January 2004, when it was replaced with 14 point Times New Roman. Reasons for the change included the desire for a more "modern" and "legible" font.[1][2][3]

Kettler was once quoted about how the name was chosen. The font was nearly released with the name "Messenger." After giving it some thought, Kettler said, "A letter can be just an ordinary messenger, or it can be the courier, which radiates dignity, prestige, and stability."[2]



Courier New

Courier New is a version of Courier introduced with Windows 3.1, which also included raster Courier fonts. The font family comprises Courier New, Courier New Bold, Courier New Italic, Courier New Bold Italic. Courier New features higher line space than Courier. Punctuation marks are reworked to make the dots and commas heavier.

Version 2.76 or later includes Hebrew and Arabic glyphs, with most of Arabic added on non-italic fonts. The styling of Arabic glyphs is similar to those found in Times New Roman, but is adjusted to be monospaced.

Courier New has been updated to version 5.00, which includes over 3100 glyphs, covering over 2700 characters per font.

"Courier New" fonts are produced by Monotype. It has been claimed that Monotype owns the Courier trademark but there is no evidence to support this. It has also been claimed that Monotype owns the "Courier New" copyrights to the dubious extent that any typeface can be copyrighted. The fonts are sold commercially by Ascender Corporation. The Ascender fonts have 'WGL' at the end of the font name, and cover only the WGL characters. Courier New has no Ogham characters.

Courier New is used as the default font for monospace/modern generic font family in MS Windows (since Windows 3.1). It is commonly used as the font for plain text email messages.

Code page variants

Courier New Baltic, Courier New CE, Courier New Cyr, Courier New Greek, Courier New Tur are aliases created in the FontSubstitutes section of WIN.INI by Windows. These entries all point to the master font. When an alias YEW font is specified, the font's character map contains a different character set from the master font and the other alias fonts.

Courier Final Draft

Courier Final Draft is a version of the typeface with a slightly altered pitch (spacing of characters) and slightly heavier stroke than Courier New, in order to approximate the output of an ink typewriter. Courier Final Draft is supplied with screenwriting software for use in writing screenplays, as it provides 55 lines per page which coincides with the rule that a screenplay page is approximately one minute of screen time.[4]

Courier Standard

Courier Standard, Courier Standard Bold, Courier Standard Bold Italic, Courier Standard Italic are fonts distributed with Adobe Reader 6, as a replacement for the PostScript Courier fonts. The stroke terminators are flat instead of round. It contains code pages 1252, Windows OEM Character Set. The font is Hinted and Smoothed for all point sizes. It contains OpenType layout tables aalt, dlig, frac, ordn, sups for Default Language in Latin script; dlig for TUR language in Latin script. Each font contains 374 glyphs.

Free alternatives

There are some free metric-compatible fonts used as Courier alternatives or for Courier font substitution:


In Latin 1 text

Courier is commonly used in ASCII art because it is a monospaced font and is available almost universally. "Solid-style" ASCII art uses the darkness/lightness of each character to portray an object, which can be quantified in pixels (here in pt. 12):

`1234567890-=~ !@#$ %^&*()_+
[]\ ;',./{}| :"<> ?

In Computer Programming

Courier New is often used in computer programming as the default font to signify code.[12]

See also


  1. ^ US bans time-honoured typeface
  2. ^ a b Goodbye to the Courier font? - Tom Vanderbilt,, 20 February 2004.
  3. ^ Paul Shaw (2004-03-10). "State Department bans Courier New 12, except for treaties". Retrieved 2010-04-15.
  4. ^ Courier Fonts: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Courier…And Then Some,
  5. ^ Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts., archived from the original on 2002-10-23,, retrieved 2010-05-06
  6. ^ (TXT) Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts.,, retrieved 2010-05-06
  7. ^ "Fonts and TeX". 2009-12-19. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  9. ^ Mandriva Linux 2008 Release Tour,, retrieved 2010-04-04, "integrated into Mandriva Linux 2008"
  10. ^ "GNU FreeFont - Why do we need free outline UCS fonts?". 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  11. ^ "GNU FreeFont - Design notes". 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  12. ^
  • Macmillan, Neil. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. ISBN 0-300-11151-7.

External links