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.
Now on the font tab, you’ll be able to choose from any of the fonts that are enabled in the registry.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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).
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).
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:
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?
Programmer by day, geek by night, The Geek, also known as Lowell Heddings, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 11/18/08