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Stupid Geek Tricks: Enable More Fonts for the Windows Command Prompt

Have you ever noticed that there are only two fonts to choose from in the Command prompt properties window? What you might not know is that you can use a simple registry hack to enable alternate fonts, including a very readable font that comes with Vista and Office 2007.

But that’s not all… you can enable a number of fixed width fonts if you really want to. We’ll cover how this works, as well as one of my favorite “interesting” fonts for the command prompt.

Changing the Default Command Prompt Font

To change the font, you’ll want to right-click on the title bar and choose Properties from the menu. If you want to set the defaults for all command prompt windows you can choose the Defaults option instead.

image

Now on the font tab, you’ll be able to choose from any of the fonts that are enabled in the registry.

image

You’ll notice in my screenshot that I have the Consolas font enabled… which isn’t normally enabled by default, so keep reading on how to enable it!

Enabling Additional Fonts for the Command Prompt

In order to enable additional fonts in the command prompt, you’ll need to pull out your registry hacking skills and open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, navigating down to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Console\TrueTypeFont

Once you get down to that key, you’ll see the list of enabled True Type fonts on the right-hand pane. To add another one, add a new string value named 00, and set the value to the name of the font you want to enable.

Note that you will have to reboot your computer before you can then use the new font in the command prompt.

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You’ll see here that I enabled the Consolas font by using that as the value. This font is included by default on any machine that has Vista or Office 2007, but if you are using XP you can just install the free Powerpoint 2007 Viewer which contains the fonts.

font-consolas

Even at really small font sizes, Consolas is quite readable.

What Fonts Can I Enable?

The command prompt will only accept fonts that are fixed-width, so don’t even bother trying to enable Comic Sans =) I started looking around on various font websites and found a few fonts that worked, like this White Rabbit font that has a fun look:

font-whiterabbit

To enable an additional font like that one while still keeping Consolas enabled, you’ll first need to download and install the font (right-click on it and choose Install), and then go back into the registry and add a new key, making sure to give it a different name (I used 00 and 000, but you could use 00, 01, 02, etc).

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Once you’ve enabled both of the fonts you should be able to choose between them in the Font tab like before (remember you have to reboot for them to actually work).

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Some fonts don’t work, however… I tried quite a few fixed-width fonts that gave me an error when I tried to open the properties window:

font-size-error

If this happens to you, don’t worry… just go back into the registry and remove the item. Still, a rather fun trick… anybody remember vfont from the DOS days?

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/18/08

Comments (10)

  1. Sam

    hmmm… I was able to add the value, but when i change to that font it ignores my change when i hit ok, any idea why this happens?

  2. The Geek

    @Sam

    Completely my fault! I forgot to add that you have to reboot after changing the value in the registry.

  3. Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy

    Haha, very pointless, but very cool. A true “stupid geek trick”!

  4. Simon SC

    Actually very useful if you do a lot of command-line work. Fonts like Consolas or Bitstream Vera Sans really make coding better.

  5. LH
  6. Kody Brown

    @Simon SC, @LH:
    I agree! Excellent tip!

  7. Win

    Very useful tip for me. Thanks a million !

  8. Gawwad

    @Simon SC
    Do people really use the command-line on a Windows on regular basis?
    I understand it on an unix system, but isn’t the Windows CMD a ‘bit’ limited and clumsy?

  9. brian

    FYI: you don’t need to reboot.

  10. brian

    Ah, I was only partially correct. In Win7 I have “Command Prompt” pinned to the task bar (from Start>Programs>Accessories>Command Prompt) and it works without a reboot. “cmd.exe” as started from Start>Run>cmd doesn’t seem to like the changes.

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