What is Terminus TTF?

Terminus TTF is a TrueType version of the great Terminus Font, a fixed-width bitmap font optimized for long work with computers.

How does it look?

This is how Terminus TTF looks like in NetBeans using mostly default settings:

Terminus TTF sample: NetBeans IDE

Since version 4.38.2, Terminus TTF also works properly in Microsoft® Visual Studio® (and many other Microsoft® Windows® applications).

Here is how some possibly ambiguous characters look like when using Terminus TTF (from left to right: one, lowercase L, uppercase i, pipe, uppercase o, zero):

Terminus TTF sample: Possibly ambiguous characters

Recommended font sizes

While this TTF version contains both the original bitmaps and new, scalable outlines, the latter are pretty ugly (and may have slightly wrong proportions). That is because they are generated completely automatically from the bitmaps using Potrace.

This is not a problem if you use the font in e. g. Java applications, because they will automatically use the bitmaps (which look sharp and crisp), provided that you use a font size that has corresponding bitmaps.

The font sizes you should use are:

  • 12 px or 9 pt
  • 14 px or 10.5 pt
  • 16 px or 12 pt
  • 18 px or 13.5 pt
  • 20 px or 15 pt
  • 22 px or 16.5 pt
  • 24 px or 18 pt
  • 28 px or 21 pt
  • 32 px or 24 pt

Other remarks

When not to use this TTF version

If the application you want to use the font with supports the original Terminus Font, you should really use that one instead of this TTF version — it will most likely be a more pleasant experience for you.

About the outlines

There are also applications that neither support the original Terminus Font nor use bitmaps embedded in TrueType fonts. They completely rely on the scalable outlines, which — as was already explained — do not look very nice.

When Terminus TTF is used with such applications, it will probably look a little bit weird and not exactly like the original Terminus Font; you will see whether you like it or not. Because the outlines are scalable, it should not matter which size you use, but anything bigger than 32 px/24 pt will probably just look ugly. I have no idea how sizes smaller than 12 px/9 pt look; feel free to report back, I will edit this section accordingly.

It should also be noted that you need to render Terminus TTF in monochrome black/white if the outlines are used; otherwise, they will look smeary (thanks, Infinality!).

The italic version

There is also an italic version of Terminus TTF. It exists for your convenience, but since it is automatically generated as well (the original bitmaps are slanted using mkitalic), neither the outlines nor the bitmaps look very nice. You have been warned.

Terminus TTF is unpatched

The current TTF files are made from an unpatched Terminus Font. Versions older than 4.34 had the "ge1" patch applied by me — see the Terminus Font homepage for details on what the patch did — but with upstream version 4.34, that patch became the default. If you want to apply some of the other patches available upstream, you need to generate your own TTF files; read the section Generating your own TTF files for details.


You can either download a ZIP file containing the latest regular/medium, bold and italic versions of Terminus TTF or you can browse older versions.

Staying up-to-date / Changelog

I post release announcements on my blog; that should make it easier to keep up with new releases.

Generating your own TTF files using mkttf

The scripts I wrote in order to generate my TTF files from the original Terminus Font BDF source files may be useful for you as well — maybe you want to apply patches to Terminus Font before turning it into a TrueType font (different quotation marks, anyone?) or you may be interested in automatically turning some other bitmap font into a TrueType font...

You can get the latest version of mkttf from my Git repository on GitHub; alternatively, you can download a zip file from the same page. Make sure to read the README file! You might also want to read an older blogpost of mine (not completely accurate anymore — I switched from AutoTrace to Potrace some time ago).

Patching Terminus Font and using mkttf is quite easy if you know how to do it. However, explaining how to apply patches using the patch program is out of scope for this document. After you have patched Terminus Font, generating TrueType files is as easy as running the mkttf.sh script, provided that you have all the necessary tools installed — see the README file from the mkttf distribution for details.

The scripts are fairly generic; in order to use them for other fonts than Terminus Font, you should only have to edit the mkttf.sh file.

Licenses The boring stuff

Terminus TTF

The license of Terminus TTF follows that of Terminus Font.

mkttf and others

mkttf is licensed under the BSD license. Other files you can get here may be published under other licenses.


Found some ugly or bad looking characters?

Please make sure that you are using the right font size. Using other sizes may lead to characters being displayed with wrong proportions and/or blurry characters.

Please note that most of the time, I can do little about ugly looking characters (or rather outlines).

As you should know by now, the outlines are generated completely automatically. Editing them manually afterwards in order to make them look nice, and that every time a new Terminus Font version is released, would be quite tedious and not practicable.

Of course, you can still contact me if you have any problems and I will see if I can help.

If you know how to generate better outlines, I would appreciate it if you could tell me as well; of course, credit will be given where credit is due.

Want me to add more characters?

If you want me to add more characters and/or change existing ones or if you have found a bug in Terminus Font (that carried over to Terminus TTF) and want me to fix it, I need to pass, sorry. Dimitar Zhekov, the author of Terminus Font, is the right person to contact in such cases — his email address can be found in the original Terminus Font README.

Got some other feedback?

If there is something else you want to tell me, feel free to send me an email.

Click here to obtain my email address