FONT INDEX: Select a font to see a detailed preview and try it out for yourself.



II. Fonts from PC-Compatible Computers

The deluge of IBM PC compatibles included some outliers that extended on IBM's video standards, although most of them didn't. A lot of the clone makers contented themselves with cloning IBM's character bitmaps, too. These are naturally absent from this collection - only those with their own font designs are included here.

Acer Inc. / Multitech Electronics

Acer 710:

Acer's 'Turbo XT' machine from ~1987 includes an on-board video controller for CGA, MDA, and Hercules compatibility.  The Acer folks went through the trouble of modifying IBM's glyph designs, albeit not very daringly.  A bit more obvious in the monochrome font, where they toned down the serifs a little like ATI did.

This CGA font was also seen earlier in some Multitech cards from the mid-1980, before the rebranding to Acer, e.g. the CGA-PC PB85048-3A (but not all of them; the Multitech MPF-PC CGA for one pretty much ripped the IBM font).

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Acer710 CGA

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
Acer710 CGA-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12
Acer710 Mono

9x14; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
2:3


Amstrad Consumer Electronics

Amstrad PC1512 / PC1640 / PPC:

These computers all feature a nicely readable 8x8 font with a consistent style; very small differences exist between models. Characters are wider and more tightly spaced than in IBM's fonts. Besides the default codepage 437, Danish and Greek fonts were available, and the PC1640/PPC models added Portuguese; I used these as a basis for the 'Plus' unicode version.

The PPC line adds built-in monochrome support, along with the 9x14 font that this entails, but it's nearly identical to that of the IBM MDA.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Amstrad PC

8x8; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
Amstrad PC-2y

8x8; CP437, Plus
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12


AST Research

AST Premium Exec:

This laptop came with a 3:4, 640x480 VGA LCD.  At only 400 scanlines, normal 8x16 VGA text would appear squashed, so the display could be set to "Expand mode", which enables 8x19 characters for a square-pixel 80x25 text mode.  AST's version of DOS 5.0 includes 19-scanline fonts for multiple codepages, which I've combined into the 'Plus' version here.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
AST Premium Exec

8x19; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1


AT&T Information Systems

AT&T PC6300:

The rebadged Olivetti M24, with its enhanced CGA-compatible video, introduced 400-line text and graphics modes for increased resolution.  These supported an 8x16 character set, which was similar to the IBM MDA font, but with more of a slab serif style on the uppercase letters, and more consistent metrics for the lowercase and accented Latin characters.

This is the text mode version - in the 640x400 graphics mode, the only difference is a more rounded 'h' (identical to the IBM MDA one).  The 8x8 BIOS font, on the other hand, was exactly the same as IBM's.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
AT&T PC6300

8x16; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
AT&T PC6300-2x

8x16; CP437
Square
2:1
Correct
5:3


Compaq Computer Corp.

Compaq Portable III, Portable 386:

In terms of video these two portables are identical: both are CGA-compatible, but add an extended 640x400 resolution and allow redefinable characters. The default font is loaded from the BIOS, rather than a dedicated ROM. The orange plasma screen uses square pixels, so the 1:1 fonts here are already aspect-correct.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Compaq Port3

8x16; CP437
Square
1:1
Compaq Port3-2x

8x16; CP437
Square
1:1

Compaq-DOS (alternate fonts):

Compaq's OEM versions of MS-DOS include their own lighter versions of the system font, loadable from a command-line utility. These versions come from Compaq-DOS v3.31; later versions introduced slight differences, but chiefly in the way of adding more of those weird little gaps in the glyphs.
These fonts aren't specific to a video mode/resolution, so there's no "correct" pixel aspect as such.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
CompaqThin 8x8

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
CompaqThin 8x14

8x14; CP437
Square
1:1
CompaqThin 8x16

8x16; CP437
Square
1:1


Corona Data Systems / Cordata

Cordata PPC-21:

Corona rode the initial wave of PC compatibles, and was praised for its high-quality text displays. This particular 'luggable' has 640x325 mono graphics, but in the 80-column text mode, each character is 16 dots horizontally - twice the usual resolution. With the original CRT's 1:3 pixel aspect, the result is very well-defined.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Cordata PPC-21

16x13; CP437, Plus
Square
1:2
Correct
1:3

Cordata PPC-400:

This 1984 portable increased the text resolution even further: the monochrome CRT now handled 400 scanlines, and character cells were 16x16. At 80 columns, you effectively have a pixel resolution of 1280x400 - much sharper than even VGA and later. Another very nice font which deserves a 'Plus' enhancement.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Cordata PPC-400

16x16; CP437, Plus
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12


Data General Corp.

Data General/One (first model):

Known from the minicomputer market, DG introduced in 1984 what was probably the first true PC-compatible laptop with a full-sized 4:3 LCD panel. Alas, the display panel was remembered mostly for its atrociously poor contrast, and perhaps that was the reason for the alternate font with its heavier weight. However, it's also possible that it was used as a substitute for high-intensity CGA text, since the panel couldn't handle multiple shades of gray; to emulate such a behavior, these fonts have both regular and bold styles.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
DG One

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
(Bold)
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
DG One-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12
(Bold)
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12


Hewlett-Packard Co.

HP 100LX/200LX Palmtop PCs:

HP's successful PDAs from the mid '90s were very much PC compatible, form factor notwithstanding, and came with MS-DOS and lots of other goodies in ROM.  These models were 80186- and CGA-compatible, but the display system had a few more tricks up its sleeve such as zoomable text modes with different font sizes to match.

The built-in charsets were multilingual – Latin alphabets only, but the 'Plus' versions here include even more custom enhancements.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
HP 100LX 6x8

6x8; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
HP 100LX 6x8-2x

6x8; CP437, Plus
Square
2:1
HP 100LX 8x8

8x8; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
HP 100LX 8x8-2x

8x8; CP437, Plus
Square
2:1
HP 100LX 10x11

10x11; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
HP 100LX 16x12

16x12; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1


ITT Information Systems

ITT Xtra:

An early (1984) PC clone, although this font comes from the 1985 BIOS (v2.0), with the upper ASCII part courtesy of ITT's version of MS-DOS. A squarish, (mostly) sans-serif design that somehow looks like a cross between the earlier and later versions of the Amiga Topaz font.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
ITT Xtra

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
ITT Xtra-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12


Kaypro Corp.

Kaypro 2000 (graphics mode):

One of the first PC-compatible laptops. The text-mode font was pretty much the same as the IBM CGA, but the BIOS (i.e. graphics mode) one is quite different, with thin strokes and sort of a 'techno' look. Interestingly the built-in LCD came in two form factors: the aspect-correct versions are based on the larger screen; the smaller one has 1:1 pixels (or close enough) at 640x200.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Kaypro2K G

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:4
Kaypro2K G-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:8


Leading Edge Hardware Products

Leading Edge PC Model M:

See the Sperry PC (HT3070-03), a somewhat improved version marketed by another vendor.


Leading Edge PC Model D:

The rather successful Model D was another system with a dual mode on-board video controller, which could be switched to CGA or monochrome, and the respective ROM fonts shared the same basic style between them. (I'm not certain that my source for the CGA charset was 100% correct, so please let me know if you own this PC and want to help out.)

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
LE Model D CGA

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
LE Model D CGA-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12
LE Model D Mono

9x14; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
2:3


Micro Byte Systems

Micro Byte PC230:

An interesting Australian computer based on the NEC V30 CPU, with built-in video hardware that could handle CGA, monochrome (Hercules) and EGA graphics. The firmware was extended by a 'SoftBIOS' loaded off the system disk, and at least some versions supported an extended "EGA+" mode, which accounts for the presence of an 8x16-pixel font.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
MBytePC230 CGA

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
MBytePC230 CGA-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12
MBytePC230 EGA

8x14; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
3:4
MBytePC230 Mono

9x14; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
2:3
MBytePC230 8x16

8x16; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6


NEC Home Electronics

NEC MultiSpeed:

NEC's 1986 answer to IBM's PC Convertible was a laptop based on its own 10MHz V30 CPU, 8086-compatible but more advanced.  The supertwist LCD display provides a CGA-compatible 640x200 resolution with 8 gray levels.  In text mode, a thin-stroke font represents normal intensity, and a bolder version is used for high intensity (there's also a DIP switch to reverse that assignment).

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
NEC MultiSpeed

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
3:5
(Bold)
Square
1:1
Correct
3:5
NEC MultiSpeed-2x

8x8; CP437
Square
2:1
Correct
6:5
(Bold)
Square
2:1
Correct
6:5


Nixdorf Computer AG

Nixdorf 8810 M15:

This 10MHz laptop (manufactured by Matsushita) features a 4:3 monochrome LCD and CGA-level compatibility. As the resolution is 640x400, the character cell is doubled in size to 8x16, with an atypically heavy-weight font.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Nix8810 M15

8x16; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6

Nixdorf 8810 M16:

A 286 model - once again with line-doubled CGA emulation on a 4:3 640x400 panel, and a more standard-looking 8x16 font this time around. There was also a VGA version, but that one used generic copies of the IBM fonts.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Nix8810 M16

8x16; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6

Nixdorf 8810 M35:

The M35 is a desktop machine, once again sourced from Matsushita, with a conservative 4.77MHz 8088 CPU and an on-board CGA controller. (There's a possibility that it also supports monochrome, with a corresponding 14-line font; if you have a source, please drop me a line.)

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Nix8810 M35

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
Nix8810 M35-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12


Olivetti Personal Computers

Olivetti M24:

See AT&T PC6300, the rebadged model for the US market.


Olivetti M15, M15 Plus:

These two 80c88-based portables share a CGA-resolution (640x200), 4:3 monochrome display, with a distinct system font which shaves one pixel off the usual cap/ascender height. That reduces the tendency of adjacent rows to stick together, and makes text more legible than the average 8x8 job.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Olivetti M15

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
Olivetti M15-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12

Olivetti M211v, M316, D33:

See CL GD-610/602 'Stingray' (these laptops used Cirrus Logic's mobile VGA chipset).


Olivetti MS-DOS (3.30a, alternate fonts):

This particular OEM version of MS-DOS comes with an inexplicably large EGA/VGA code page file, which includes more character sets than its header and metadata indicate.  For some unknown reason, four of these are plain old CP 437, but use an original thin-stroke design which comes in two widths and two heights.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
OlivettiThin 8x14

8x14; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
OlivettiThin 9x14

9x14; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
3:4
OlivettiThin 8x16

8x16; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
OlivettiThin 9x16

9x16; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
3:4


Sanyo Business Systems

Sanyo MBC-550/555:

3.58-MHz 8088 computers in a "pizza-box" form factor (likely a repurposed Sanyo VCR chassis).  They were introduced in 1983 as the cheapest PC clones of their time, although for a number of reasons they weren't all that IBM-compatible – they should really be in the "semi-compatibles" section, but I've kept them here next to their younger MBC brothers.

The display hardware is better than CGA, with 8 colors at 640x200, but its 8x8 font still sticks pretty closely to IBM's (with only subtle differences, as in the slashes) so it's here mostly for completeness' sake.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
SanyoMBC55x

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
SanyoMBC55x-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12

Sanyo MBC-775/885:

The 775 was much more of a true compatible, and perhaps the first portable PC clone (really a "luggable") to come with a color RGB CRT; The 885 was the hard-drive version.  The built-in video appears to be true CGA this time, but they go a bit more out there with the character design here: see that weird serpentine 'S', stroked 'Z', curvy 'l' (not to mention foreign objects like the 'Ç'/'æ').

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
SanyoMBC775

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
SanyoMBC775-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12

Sanyo MBC-16:

I do not have much information about this computer, beyond the fact that it has CGA (and perhaps mono?) capabilities. As a matter of fact, I need a better source for the font(s) - the upper/non-ASCII half here can be considered a placeholder. If you own one, please get in touch; the same 8x8 font also appears to be used on the MBC-670, and perhaps others.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
SanyoMBC16

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
SanyoMBC16-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12


Schneider Computer Division

Schneider EuroPC/EuroPC II:

After partnering with Amstrad to sell the 8-bit CPC in the German-speaking market, Schneider came up with PC/XT clones using the same "computer-in-a-keyboard" form factor.  Both include an on-board video chip which handles CGA and Hercules graphics, and provide fonts in the expected formats, although they're not all that different from IBM's CGA and MDA fonts respectively:

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
EuroPC CGA

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
EuroPC CGA-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12
EuroPC Mono

9x14; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
2:3


Seequa Computer Corp.

Seequa Chameleon:

Although this is an interesting dual-CPU (Z80+i8088) luggable, the PC-compatible half of its split personality is compatible enough to be included in this category. Text and graphics output are CGA-type, and the 8x8 font doesn't try very hard to distinguish itself from IBM's original.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
SeequaCM

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
SeequaCM-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12


Sharp Corp.

Sharp PC-3000:

Designed by DIP Research like the earlier Atari Portfolio, this 80C88-based palmtop computer is more of an actual PC compatible.  Its square-pixel 640x200 monochrome LCD panel displays CGA graphics (aspect ratio issues aside), with some adjustment options, like inverting the screen colors for a CRT-like white on black, and swapping the default 8x8 font for a lighter one using a hotkey.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Sharp PC3K

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Sharp PC3K-2x

8x8; CP437
Square
2:1
Sharp PC3K Alt

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Sharp PC3K Alt-2x

8x8; CP437
Square
2:1


Sperry Corp.

Sperry PC (HT3070-03):

The Sperry PC was basically the original Leading Edge PC (latter designated the "Model M") sold concurrently by a different vendor, but Sperry souped up their version a little. Most interestingly, there was an optional adapter/monitor combo that pulled off such tricks as 256 colors at 320x200, and hi-res 640x400 video (using 8x16-dot characters) with 16-color text/graphics overlay: not bad at all for 1984! Both the CGA and hi-res fonts are reproduced here.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
SperryPC CGA

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
SperryPC CGA-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12
SperryPC 8x16

8x16; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6


Tandy Corp.

Tandy Video I - early Tandy 1000 series (1000, A, HD, EX, SX, TX, HX):

One peculiarity of the 1000 series is the 225-scanline text mode, using an 8x9 character cell to improve readability.  All but the earliest models (pre-EX) boot into this mode by default, so the 8x9 variant is more commonly seen in text mode.  You can still set "TV mode" for standard 200-line text, and graphics modes are always 200 pixels tall in any case, so the 8x8 size is still around.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Tandy1K-I 200L

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
Tandy1K-I 200L-2x

8x8; CP437
Square
2:1
Correct
5:3
Tandy1K-I 200L-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12
Tandy1K-I 225L

8x9; CP437
Square
1:1
Tandy1K-I 225L-2y

8x9; CP437
Square
1:2

Tandy Video II - later Tandy 1000 series (SL, SL/2, TL, TL/2, TL/3, RL):

By this point, MS-DOS 3.x was included in the system ROM; but the Tandy Video II chip still couldn't redefine fonts for code-page support, so two character sets from MS-DOS were built in: CP437 (US) and CP850 (Western European Latin). As they're identical to the DOS .CPI fonts, the expanded 'Plus' version here is based on the latter.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Tandy1K-II 200L

8x8; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
Tandy1K-II 200L-2x

8x8; CP437, Plus
Square
2:1
Correct
5:3
Tandy1K-II 200L-2y

8x8; CP437, Plus
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12
Tandy1K-II 225L

8x9; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Tandy1K-II 225L-2y

8x9; CP437, Plus
Square
1:2

The Video II chip could also drive a monochrome monitor (for MDA/Hercules modes), hence the additional 9x14 font. This one was cribbed from MS-DOS as well, so it lacks the wider 'M'/'T'/'W'/etc., which usually show up in hardware 9-dot fonts.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Tandy1K-II Mono

9x14; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
2:3


TeleVideo Systems

TeleVideo TS-1605/TS-1605H (Tele-PC/Tele-XT):

Two 1984 machines, pretty much identical except for the 'H' model having a hard drive.  Not all that special in terms of capabilities, but the VLSI chipset allowed most functions to reside on board, and the design was based on TeleVideo's own terminals, complete with a swivel-mounted 14" monitor (green monochrome, but CGA-capable).

Coming from terminals, TeleVideo put in the effort to improve legibility by making the character cells taller (8x9), so there's actually some spacing between rows of text.  The default font is still clearly based on IBM's thin CGA font; a jumper changes this to a heavier double-dot one (not yet extracted for this collection).

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
TelePC

8x9; CP437
Square
1:1
TelePC-2y

8x9; CP437
Square
1:2


Toshiba Corp.

Toshiba Satellite series:

The earlier Satellite laptops were released when text mode was still a relevant use-case, and their built-in VGA fonts share a consistent sans-serif design which is quite distinctive and readable. Optionally, the text display could be stretched to fill the 4:3 screen, so the aspect-corrected versions conform to the expected VGA pixel aspects.

This version of the font comes from the Satellite 4200; some other models introduced a few (negligible) differences.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
ToshibaSat 8x8

8x8; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
ToshibaSat 9x8

9x8; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
3:4
ToshibaSat 8x14

8x14; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
ToshibaSat 9x14

9x14; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
3:4
ToshibaSat 8x16

8x16; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
ToshibaSat 9x16

9x16; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
3:4

Toshiba T-series:

This doesn't apply to the original T1x00 laptops, which used duplicates of IBM's fonts, but to later models starting somewhere around 1986's T3100. They came with either amber plasma displays or LCD panels, and allowed the selection of single-dot or double-dot fonts - both of which had a custom-made stylized design.

The aspect-corrected variants are based on the gas-plasma models (e.g. T3100, T3200, T5100) which sported 640x400 pixels on their 4:3 screens.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
ToshibaTxL1 8x8

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
ToshibaTxL1 8x16

8x16; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
ToshibaTxL2 8x8

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
ToshibaTxL2 8x16

8x16; CP437, Plus
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6


Miscellaneous clones - BIOS/OEM fonts

These all replace the 8x8 PC BIOS font in their respective machines, so they only ever show up in graphics mode, and include just the lower 128 ASCII characters. The other 128 were added manually to complete the CP437 character set, with varying amounts of effort to keep the design consistent (and most of these didn't merit much effort).


American Megatrends (AMI) BIOS:

See the 8x8 AMI EGA font, which is identical to what AMI used in its system BIOS firmware.


Copam Electronics BIOS:

A prolific PC clone manufacturer from Taiwan. At least for version 3.86 of their generic XT-class BIOS (1985), the author seemingly grabbed a copy of the standard CGA font and proceeded to add/remove pixels pretty much at random. The result is about as hideous as you'd expect.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Copam BIOS

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
Copam BIOS-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12

DTK/ERSO XT clone BIOS:

Yet another variation on the CGA character set, without much of an effort put into it. This particular font is taken from v2.42 of the generic Taiwanese clone BIOS, although the other revisions were probably every bit as nondescript.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
DTK BIOS

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
DTK BIOS-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12

Phoenix Technologies BIOS (v2.x):

Phoenix's brand of BIOSes (at least two known revisions: v2.27, v2.51) used an interesting graphics mode font with a bit of an Amiga style to it, although the capitals and numerals also resemble the classic Atari/Namco arcade font somewhat. As a result of the Phoenix BIOS line's success, this font can be found on quite a number of machines -- from generic beige boxes to Commodore's PC-compatible range (Commodore PC-I/II/III/Colt).

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
Phoenix BIOS

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
Phoenix BIOS-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12

Phoenix Technologies BIOS (v3.x):

See the 8x8 Phoenix EGA font – at least some later iterations (e.g. v3.13) of Phoenix's system BIOS replaced their internal font with that one.


VTech Laser XT BIOS:

Another nasty-looking font, this time a thin-stroked one, which seems to imitate a disheveled version of the alternate/thin CGA font. In sharp contrast, it clearly has the happiest-looking smiley faces in the bunch.

Font/Charsets Aspect Sample
VTech BIOS

8x8; CP437
Square
1:1
Correct
5:6
VTech BIOS-2y

8x8; CP437
Square
1:2
Correct
5:12