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Carlos Abad Molinero
Carlos Abad Molinero

Cascadia Code: A Font with Powerline Symbols and Ligatures for VS Code


Introduction




Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a popular code editor that supports a wide range of programming languages, extensions, and features. One of the ways to customize your coding environment in VS Code is to change the font that you use for editing and displaying code. There are many fonts available for developers, but one of the newest and most exciting ones is Cascadia Code.


Cascadia Code is a fun, new monospaced font that includes programming ligatures and is designed to enhance the modern look and feel of the Windows Terminal and VS Code. It was developed by Microsoft and released in 2019 as an open source project on GitHub. Cascadia Code has a clean and elegant design that makes code more readable and enjoyable. It also supports various font features and variants that allow you to customize it according to your preferences and needs.




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In this article, I will show you how to install Cascadia Code font, how to customize it with different features and variants, and how to use some VS Code extensions and tips to improve your coding experience with this font. Let's get started!


How to install Cascadia Code font




The easiest way to install Cascadia Code font is to download it from the GitHub releases page. There you can find the latest version of the font in various formats such as TTF, OTF, WOFF2, etc. You can choose the format that suits your operating system and browser best. For example, if you are using Windows or Linux, you might want to download the TTF variable format that offers the greatest diversity of weight options (anything from 200-700). If you are using macOS or prefer OTF format fonts, you can download the OTF static format that provides fixed instances of different weights.


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Once you have downloaded the zip file containing the font files, you need to unzip it and open the font file that you want to install. This will open a new window displaying the characters included in the font along with the font displayed at different sizes. This window should have an "Install" button that will install the font on your machine when clicked. Note: If you have previously installed a version of Cascadia Code, please uninstall it before installing a new version.


After installing the font on your machine, you need to configure VS Code to use it as your default editor font. To do this, you need to open the Settings editor by using the following VS Code menu command: On Windows/Linux - File > Preferences > Settings. On macOS - Code > Preferences > Settings. You can also open the Settings editor from the Command Palette (Ctrl+Shift+P) with Preferences: Open Settings or use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+,). In the Settings editor, search for "Font Family" and enter "Cascadia Code" before any other fonts in the list. For example, your font family setting should look something like this: "Cascadia Code, Consolas, 'Courier New', monospace". This will make VS Code use Cascadia Code as the first choice of font, and fall back to other fonts if Cascadia Code is not available. You can also adjust the font size and zoom level in the Settings editor to suit your preferences.


How to customize Cascadia Code font




One of the great things about Cascadia Code is that it offers a lot of customization options that let you tweak the appearance and functionality of the font. In this section, I will show you how to use some of these options to make Cascadia Code fit your coding style and needs.


Font variants




Cascadia Code comes with several variants that provide different features and styles for the font. The main variants are:


  • Cascadia Code: This is the base version of the font that includes programming ligatures and Powerline symbols. Programming ligatures are special characters that combine two or more symbols into one, such as =>, !=, or ==>. Powerline symbols are icons that can be used to create custom status bars and prompts in terminal applications.



  • Cascadia Mono: This is a version of the font that does not include programming ligatures or Powerline symbols. This is useful for users who prefer a more traditional monospaced font or who have issues with rendering ligatures or symbols in some applications.



  • Cascadia Code PL: This is a version of the font that includes programming ligatures and Powerline symbols, but does not include any other OpenType features. This is useful for users who want to use ligatures and symbols, but do not want to enable any other font features that might affect the appearance or behavior of the font.



  • Cascadia Mono PL: This is a version of the font that includes Powerline symbols, but does not include programming ligatures or any other OpenType features. This is useful for users who want to use symbols, but do not want to use ligatures or any other font features.



  • Cascadia Code Italic: This is a version of the font that includes an italic style for the font. This is useful for users who want to use italic text for comments, keywords, or other purposes in their code.



To use any of these variants, you need to download them from the GitHub releases page and install them on your machine as described in the previous section. Then, you need to change the font family setting in VS Code to use the variant name instead of "Cascadia Code". For example, if you want to use Cascadia Mono PL, your font family setting should look something like this: "Cascadia Mono PL, Consolas, 'Courier New', monospace".


Font features




Cascadia Code also supports various OpenType features that allow you to enable or disable certain aspects of the font such as stylistic sets, ligatures, fractions, etc. OpenType features are controlled by tags that can be appended to the font name in VS Code settings. For example, if you want to enable stylistic set 1 (ss01) and disable ligatures (liga), you can use the following syntax: "Cascadia Code:ss01;+liga". The plus sign (+) means enable and the minus sign (-) means disable. You can find a list of all supported OpenType features and their tags on the GitHub repository. Here are some examples of how you can use OpenType features with Cascadia Code:


  • If you want to use a slashed zero instead of a dotted zero, you can enable stylistic set 2 (ss02) with "Cascadia Code:ss02".



  • If you want to use an alternate lowercase g that is more rounded, you can enable stylistic set 5 (ss05) with "Cascadia Code:ss05".



  • If you want to use fractions such as 1/2 or 3/4 in your code, you can enable the fractions feature (frac) with "Cascadia Code:frac".



  • If you want to disable all ligatures in your code, you can disable the common ligatures feature (liga) with "Cascadia Code:-liga". Note: This will also disable Powerline symbols.



  • If you want to disable only certain ligatures in your code, such as != or ==>, you can disable them individually with their corresponding discretionary ligatures feature (dlig) tags. For example, if you want to disable != and ==>, you can use "Cascadia Code:-dlig_ neq" and "Cascadia Code:-dlig_eqgt". You can find a list of all discretionary ligatures and their tags on the GitHub repository.



Note: Some OpenType features may not work properly in some applications or browsers, depending on their support for OpenType features. You may need to experiment with different combinations of features and variants to find the best re


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