Damn Helvetica

Posted on: January 16, 2014

Last updated on: February 21, 2014


GitHub likes Helvetica, a lot of sites seem to like the font, too bad it looks like shit on a default PCBSD install. The following will globally replace Helvetica with Arial which looks much nicer.

place the following in ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf, if it doesn’t exist create it.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM 'fonts.dtd'>
<fontconfig>
	<match target="pattern">
		<test name="family" qual="any">
			<string>Helvetica</string>
		</test>
		<edit binding="strong" mode="prepend" name="family">
			<string>Arial</string>
		</edit>
	</match>

	<match target="pattern">
		<test name="family" qual="any">
			<string>Lucida</string>
		</test>
		<edit binding="strong" mode="prepend" name="family">
			<string>Verdana</string>
		</edit>
	</match>
</fontconfig>

to test the match type

$ fc-match helvetica

which should return something like

arial.ttf: "Arial" "Normal"

Found how to do this @Arch Linux Forums

Update 2014-02-21 Added a Lucida->Verdana mapping because Lucida is also ugly.

Update 2014-02-15 With PCBSD 10.0 Release I’m getting a deprecation warning when running fc-match helvetica seems ~/.fonts.conf is no longer preferred. I’ve updated the above instructions with the preferred location ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf.


tags: pcbsd freebsd