No matter how careful you are, mistakes can happen. A slip of the finger can totally alter a word without giving spellcheck a reason to step in. Words like ‘ward’ and ‘wars’ are a letter apart, and both make sense in different contexts.
Proofreading is a valuable technique to stop these errors slipping through the cracks, but you may not be able to identify errors when reading your own work.
Enter DPCustomMono, a font intended solely for proofreading. Although originally designed for proofing OCR text, there is no reason you could not use it for text written on a computer as we intend to.
DPCustomMono, as you can see, is far from a beautiful font, though it is functional. The core idea behind its design is that every letter gets its own distinct identity. Some fonts have extremely similar looking glyphs for a capital ‘I’ and a lower-case ‘l’.
The observant among you may notice a slight difference in thickness between the letters used in our example above, which is Calibri at 72pt. The capital I is thicker, but at smaller sizes spotting these differences is harder.
By giving each letter a totally unique appearance, DPCustomMono is meant to draw attention to their presence. In our ‘ward/wars’ example, you might catch it through regular reading, but you’re far more likely if the two letters look so radically different it’s hard to mistake them.
DPCustomMono is distributed for free, which is excellent considering how useful it can be. Whether you’re working on a manuscript, a blog post, or an academic paper, it can be worthwhile to take the time to proofread.
By now you may be wondering if DPCustomMono works for its intended purpose. Certainly the logic behind its design is sound, but whether it works properly or not is a different matter.
As the above screenshot ably demonstrates, DPCustomMono is large compared to other fonts, with large spaces between letters. The text used, the opening to Dickens’ “Nicholas Nickleby,” quickly runs into its second page. The font was set to display at 13.5pt, just as with Times New Roman above.
Even the default OCR font in Windows, OCR A Extended, displays at a significantly smaller size than DPCustomMono. Absolute certainty that the font works cannot be guaranteed, but at a basic level, increasing the size of text may flag errors, while distinct character designs may further assist.
The group responsible for the font’s development, “Distributed Proofreaders,” saw fit to apply their name to it, hence the “DP” prefix. That professional proofreaders saw the gap for a suitable font and produced it is an encouraging sign of its potential.
It is immensely satisfying to be able to identify any mistakes in your writing and correct them before others do so, and DPMonoCustom is well worth trying for the potential satisfaction it can give. Furthermore, it is OS independent, so does not force you to use only one operating system or computer.