Variable Pitch Mode

Today I ran across a tweet that recommends the use of variable-pitch-mode when writing prose instead of code:

That mode gives you proportional fonts in the buffer, which, the tweet claims, is a big help when writing plain text.

It certainly looks nicer but I'm not sure that it helps all that much. The nice thing, though, is that it's merely a display option and you can switch back and forth at will. Although the lines look a bit shorter because of the proportional fonts, Emacs is maintaining the proper fill column as you can see by switching back to normal display.

I vaguely remember using this in Aquamacs when I first started with Emacs because Aquamacs enabled it by default on text files. As I recall, I found it a bit distracting even then. The problem, for me, is that I don't find the proportional font any easier to read and it's not really WYSIWYG so there doesn't seem to be a point. Of course, others disagree and find it helpful. Being Emacs, you can have it your way and even try it out at no cost. If you don't like it, just turn it off and your buffer goes back to displaying normally. If you do like it, you can set a hook function to turn it on for text or Org or whatever. If you want more control, you can use the mode line.

If you haven't seen this before, just call variable-pitch-mode to see what it looks like. Calling variable-pitch-mode again will turn it off.


On the other hand, if you do turn on variable-pitch-mode, maybe the government won't think you're a cybercriminal like Manning, Snowden, and Assange.

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  • Joost

    I actually use this a lot in my text (markdown) and even LaTeX buffers (using AUCTeX, its excellent TeX-fold-mode and preview-latex, it actually does approach WYSIWYG), but I also prefer a bar cursor when I use variable-pitch-mode. So I wrote a little minor mode for it:

    (define-minor-mode jk-variable-pitch-mode
    "Variable pitch mode with a bar cursor."
    :init-value nil :lighter nil :global nil
    (variable-pitch-mode 1)
    (setq cursor-type 'bar))
    ((not jk-variable-pitch-mode)
    (variable-pitch-mode -1)
    (setq cursor-type 'box))))

  • I'm very much afraid that the current trend is that the governments (1) think you're a criminal anyway (cyber or not), (2) treat you like a criminal anyway, and (3) introduce laws so that you actually *are* a criminal (it's quite handy for any govt if they can convict just anybody, isn't it?).

    I'm more and more wondering: hereditary monarchy maybe wasn't the best form of government (or was it?), but it more or less worked. If it ain't broken, why fix it? Since democracy clearly *doesn't* work, at least in its present form.