What typewriter font is used in this document?:

enter image description here

If yes: Can I download a freely (as in freedom) usable font file for use in text editors ?

If no: Can I (or anyone) legally create a font for computer use, released freely (as in freedom), by shamelessly copying it from this document ?

Or something similar:

  • typewriter / monospace
  • modern (not those roundish, "some characters fall below the line" style)
  • like: most letters started out as "rounded edge rectangles"
  • 1
    Have you checked on sites such as myfonts.com/WhatTheFont ? – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Jun 27 '12 at 10:15
  • There are lots of free and commercial typewriter faces. That face may be a typewriter...though it also may be from an early dot-matrix printer. – DA01 Jun 27 '12 at 20:54
  • 1
    Since the text is not rendered as text (but just as an image), and the text is quite blurry and ugly, there's a good chance this is a scan from an actual typewriter. – paddotk Jul 2 '12 at 14:20
  • This is driving me nuts too. Dijkstra's typewriter has squarer letterforms than any common gothic monospace and the numerals are unusual in that they are full height but have oldstyle tails. Techno doesn't match on the numbers. None of the online font recognizers can make heads or tails of it. It looks suspiciously like the font from this Primavera 2000 but no sample numerals are shown there. – Kevin Thibedeau Jun 18 '15 at 21:34
  • I am an amateur at font design, and only did this after reading your question along with Kevin Thibedeau's answer, so technically this comment can't be construed as an answer, but I made a font emulating this typeface. The line spacing is not quite accurate, and there are some other problems (i.e. no accented characters), but it can be found here: github.com/dwringer/HermesEWD – Darren Nov 26 '19 at 6:03

That is not a font. (Font meaning digital file for a typeface)

That is an actual typewriter page which has been scanned and then converted to a PDF. The PDF only contains Lucida, Lucida Bold, and Lucida Italic.

If You are merely searching for Typewriter fonts MyFonts.com has a large selection.

  • 2
    Note that it dates from 1968 which was well before the advent of mainstream digital typography. – e100 Jul 2 '12 at 13:56
  • 2
    Font doesn't mean digital file for a typeface. I've worked with my dad in the days before computers when typesetting meant someone arranging bits of metal in a wooden frame. Back in those days we used the word "font" to refer to fonts. A typeface is a collection of fonts of the same family. Another way of saying it is that "font" is a typeface with a specific weight and style. So no, that's not NOT a font. – slebetman Feb 24 '15 at 2:28
  • This is why I explicitly added the parenthesis. I realize that in the days of hot type the word "font" was used. In this context it refers to a digital file though. – Scott Feb 24 '15 at 2:44

This looks a lot like Artisan which was an IBM Selectric Typewriter Ball typeface. The typefaces could be changed by swapping the ball.

Check this specimen:


I suspect some of the blockiness in the PDF is from a low resolution black and white (threshold) scan and ink bleed on the paper.


  • I don't think that's a match. The "2" and "3" and some of the punctuation don't quite match. – Ananda Mahto Jun 27 '12 at 15:47
  • I don't think it is a perfect match either, that's why I said "a lot like." The 2 is pretty close, the 5 is very similar (and distinctive). But for sure, there are some differences ("GO TO" looks different). – horatio Jun 27 '12 at 16:43
  • 1
    The "y" also shows a clear difference: the tail of the "y" in the document curves, while Artisan's "y" has a straight tail. Also, "I", "B" and "D" in the document have serifs, while those in Artisan do not. Still, nice find. – Ilmari Karonen Jun 27 '12 at 20:52
  • 1
    Other than both being typewriter fonts, they are pretty dissimilar. – e100 Jul 2 '12 at 17:03
  • "specimen", nice ;) – paddotk Jul 3 '12 at 13:00

Magda Clean Mono Regular is similar, but it ain't free !

enter image description here

  • Good similar recommendation, but not the same font. I would go with @Scott's recommendation of finding something at MyFonts. – Ananda Mahto Jun 27 '12 at 16:01

Surprised at the low level of response here. It is quite possible to convert a physical, mechanical typewriter font to a digital font: http://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-fonts.html

What's posted in the query is an unwitting 'typecast'. Welcome to The Typosphere: www.typosphere.net

The font used above is Techno: http://offountainpenstypewriters.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/mysterious-hermes-3000-techno-pica.html

  • +1 for Techno Pica. The sample you link to doesn't quite exactly match the one used by Dijkstra, though; the "3" and the "5" in Dijkstra's letter look like those from ordinary Pica. Still, it's a far better match than any of the others so far. – Ilmari Karonen Aug 16 '12 at 21:24

I found it. In EWD1000 Dijkstra mentions the typewriter he apparently used for the bulk of his manuscripts until he started mostly handwriting them around 1979:

By the time I went to the Technological University of Eindhoven —Sept. 1962— I was an expert typist. Asked whether I had any special wishes —in those days new professors were supposed to have special wishes— I shocked my future colleagues by asking an electric Hermes Ambassador with the Techno Elite type fount and special characters according to my specifications.

The type samples I've found for Hermes Techno Elite don't have the same numerals as his typewriter. Presumably those were taken from another font as part of his customization. Possibly Hermes Elite since it's the only 12 pitch font in the sample with a "4" extending below the baseline.

He also mentions than an earlier Hermes Media typewriter with the Techno font that had a full set of brackets and braces:

I then allowed myself the luxury of a portable typewriter, which I still have. [It had square brackets.] {It had braces too.} I could also type -> and => . In early 1960 I used it for, say, a dozen EWD's...

  • Great find. The numerals used in some of the typed EWD's appear to be the same as in the Hermes Small Pica face. (3, 4, 5, 7, 9 descending, 6 ascending) – Darren Aug 22 '19 at 18:57
  • 1
    @Darren It wouldn't be possible to mix Pica and Elite type in the same machine. That's why the numbers are most likely from the plain Elite set. – Kevin Thibedeau Aug 24 '19 at 16:32
  • Aha, gotcha, and my mistake - I did not catch that one in the link you provided initially. The numerals do indeed look identical to my eye. I'd say you've nailed it. – Darren Aug 29 '19 at 17:01
  • After reading this answer I drew up an emulation of this typeface in FontForge. If anyone is interested the result may be obtained from here: github.com/dwringer/HermesEWD (I'm afraid it's rather incomplete by modern standards, using a rather simplified set of glyphs and no accented characters) – Darren Nov 26 '19 at 6:06

This font http://www.fontsaddict.com/font/albertsthal-typewriter.html is very similar to the one in the document.


It might be related to Hermes typeface Techno Square Elite or maybe Techno Pica depending on the space between letters. Some Hermes fonts are available in this blog online: http://offountainpenstypewriters.blogspot.com/2012/05/not-so-junk-hermes-3000-and-hermes.html

Whatever it is, your type sample looks like the type on my Hermes 3000 with straight lower case 'p' and squared off 'o'. I love it. It is a very clean, readable and slightly retro typeface. Best!


It looks to me to be "techno pica" font. The Hermes 3000 has them, I don't know about the other models that has it.


Acutally that is pdf converted from image. With this tool you can find out which font is that.


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