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Re: What is your font setup for Emacs?

I keep getting the titular question fairly often—two just yesterday! I am thus publish the present entry to be able to link to it instead of rewriting the whole thing every time (or storing it in a text register, but you get the idea).

The short version is:

  • Fonts are part of my Iosevka Comfy project.
  • My relevant Emacs packages are fontaine, cursory, logos, modus-themes.
  • Other neat packages I use include olivetti, org-modern.
  • Plus tweaks to Org, directory-local variables, variable-pitch-mode.

My font is Iosevka Comfy

This is a highly customised build of Iosevka that I have designed meticulously to work optimally for my requirements. Excerpts from its README:

Iosevka Comfy is more vertically compact than the standard upstream configuration. Glyphs are rounder and have tailed ends or serifs only when those are required to both impose a predictable rhythm and keep characters distinct from each other.

[…]

Roman and italic variants are made to look more consistent while retaining their stylistic features. Unlike the default Iosevka style, the upright glyphs do not have a mixture of straight/blocky and curved or serified characters (special exceptions notwithstanding). While the italics do not have calligraphic tendencies that greatly contrast with their counterparts. The differences within each character set and between the variants themselves are nuanced. The intent is to make everything feel part of the same aesthetic. Distinctions are drawn on the premise of contributing to the demands of the design without ever calling attention to themselves (as opposed to sporadic calligraphic glyphs amid an otherwise austere presentation).

[… lots of technicalities elided]

Iosevka Comfy comes in five variants, all of which share the same stylistic overrides, as documented above.

  • iosevka-comfy is monospaced and supports ligatures. Apart from ligatures, it allows certain glyphs, such as arrows, to occupy more than one block.

  • iosevka-comfy-fixed is strictly monospaced and does not support ligatures. All glyphs are exactly the same width. Use this if you prefer it or if your application (e.g. terminal emulator) does not recognise iosevka-comfy as a monospaced font.

  • iosevka-comfy-duo is quasi-proportional and supports ligatures. The naturally wide glyphs, such as m, are allowed to occupy two blocks instead of one.

  • iosevka-comfy-wide is the same as iosevka-comfy except it is noticeably wider. It also looks taller than iosevka-comfy even though both variants fit the same number of lines on a screen.

  • iosevka-comfy-wide-fixed same as iosevka-comfy-wide though it is strictly monospaced and does not support ligatures.

I manage font configurations with my ‘fontaine’ package

I have already written about fontaine on this blog. It lets the user declare font presets and switch between them on demand: helpful when you want to switch between different contexts. The official manual elaborates on the particulars. Excerpt from my dotemacs with just the presets:

(setq fontaine-presets
      '((tiny
         :default-family "Iosevka Comfy Wide Fixed"
         :default-height 70)
        (small
         :default-family "Iosevka Comfy Fixed"
         :default-height 90)
        (regular
         :default-height 100)
        (medium
         :default-height 110)
        (large
         :default-weight semilight
         :default-height 140
         :bold-weight extrabold)
        (presentation
         :default-weight semilight
         :default-height 170
         :bold-weight extrabold)
        (t
         ;; I keep all properties for didactic purposes, but most can be
         ;; omitted.  See the fontaine manual for the technicalities:
         ;; <https://protesilaos.com/emacs/fontaine>.
         :default-family "Iosevka Comfy"
         :default-weight regular
         :default-height 100
         :fixed-pitch-family nil ; falls back to :default-family
         :fixed-pitch-weight nil ; falls back to :default-weight
         :fixed-pitch-height 1.0
         :variable-pitch-family "Iosevka Comfy Duo"
         :variable-pitch-weight nil
         :variable-pitch-height 1.0
         :bold-family nil ; use whatever the underlying face has
         :bold-weight bold
         :italic-family nil
         :italic-slant italic
         :line-spacing nil)))

Cursors are handled by my ‘cursory’ package

Same principle as fontaine, but for cursor styles. Excerpt from my dotemacs, while I let you check the manual for the details:

(setq cursory-presets
      '((bar
         :cursor-type (bar . 2)
         :cursor-in-non-selected-windows hollow
         :blink-cursor-blinks 10
         :blink-cursor-interval 0.5
         :blink-cursor-delay 0.2)
        (box
         :cursor-type box
         :cursor-in-non-selected-windows hollow
         :blink-cursor-blinks 10
         :blink-cursor-interval 0.5
         :blink-cursor-delay 0.2)
        (underscore
         :cursor-type (hbar . 3)
         :cursor-in-non-selected-windows hollow
         :blink-cursor-blinks 50
         :blink-cursor-interval 0.2
         :blink-cursor-delay 0.2)))

I do presentations with my ‘logos’ package

Logos lets me move between “pages” and [optionally] treat each of them as a pseudo-slide (by leveraging Emacs’ narrowing capabilities). For me this is the best way to do presentations, as I simply switch to a different fontaine preset, tweak the cursors, and then use the same Org file I was already editing. No unwieldy PDFs, no elaborate export mechanism to some external app, no fancy transitions or effects. Just regular Emacs.

Logos optionally leverages Paul W. Rankin’s excellent olivetti package to centre the buffer’s contents in its window. It helps make a page look like a slide.

What constitutes a “page” is discussed in the manual. A snippet from my dotemacs:

(setq logos-outlines-are-pages t)
(setq logos-outline-regexp-alist
      `((emacs-lisp-mode . ,(format "\\(^;;;+ \\|%s\\)" logos--page-delimiter))
        (org-mode . ,(format "\\(^\\*+ +\\|^-\\{5\\}$\\|%s\\)" logos--page-delimiter))
        (markdown-mode . ,(format "\\(^\\#+ +\\|^[*-]\\{5\\}$\\|^\\* \\* \\*$\\|%s\\)" logos--page-delimiter))
        (conf-toml-mode . "^\\[")
        (t . ,(or outline-regexp logos--page-delimiter))))

(setq-default logos-hide-mode-line t)
(setq-default logos-hide-buffer-boundaries t)
(setq-default logos-hide-fringe t)
(setq-default logos-variable-pitch t) ; see my `fontaine' configurations
(setq-default logos-buffer-read-only nil)
(setq-default logos-scroll-lock nil)
(setq-default logos-olivetti t)

Relevant options of my modus-themes

The user option modus-themes-mixed-fonts can be set to non-nil to let you use M-x variable-pitch-mode while retaining fixed spacing for certain elements like tables and inline code. In practical terms, I can use Iosevka Comfy Duo (the quasi-proportional variant) together with Iosevka Comfy when I am in an Org file (e.g. for a presentation).

Alternatively, the modus-themes-headings can make all headings use the variable-pitch face. This is what I use for regular editing, but presentations get the “mixed fonts” treatment via variable-pitch-mode and logos.

Directory-local settings for Org

In the directory where I store my presentations, I keep a .dir-locals.el file with these contents:

;;; Directory Local Variables
;;; For more information see (info "(emacs) Directory Variables")

((org-mode . ((org-hide-emphasis-markers . t)
              (org-hide-macro-markers . t)
              (org-hide-leading-stars . t))))

It basically keeps Org clean.

Note that I do not hide those elements by default (check my dotemacs), because I prefer to avoid “gotcha!” moments where some markup character is not visible and messes up with my writing. Also, I don’t want to implement a setup that smartly hides/reveals markup: I find it useful to always see markup while editing, though not while presenting.

Org is further enhanced with Daniel Mendler’s org-modern package: it improves the looks of various Org elements. For the purposes of my presentations, it makes the asterisks of headings use different glyphs, prettifies list characters, renders horizontal rules (-----) as horizontal lines, while it shows quote/src blocks without all the verbose markup (e.g. quote instead of #+begin_quote).