Frequently Asked Question List for TeX
If you are interested in text alone, you can in principle use any of the huge numbers of text fonts in Adobe Type 1, TrueType or OpenType formats. The constraint is, of course, that your previewer and printer driver should support such fonts (TeX itself only cares about metrics, not the actual character programs).
If you also need mathematics, then your choice is more limited, in particular by the demands that TeX makes of maths fonts (for details, see the papers by B.K.P. Horn in TUGboat 14(3), or by Thierry Bouche in TUGboat 19(2)). There are several options available, which are based on Knuth’s original designs. Others complement other commercial and free text font designs; one set (MicroPress’s “informal math”) stands alone.
Users should also consider the possibilities of typesetting maths using OpenType fonts.
“Free” font families that will support TeX mathematics include:
Computer Modern (75 fonts — optical scaling) Donald E. Knuth
The CM fonts were originally designed in MetaFont, but are also now available in scalable outline form. There are commercial as well as public domain versions, and there are both Adobe Type 1 and TrueType versions. A set of outline versions of the fonts was developed as a commercial venture by Y&Y and Blue Sky Research; they have since assigned the copyright to the AMS, and the fonts are now freely available from CTAN. Their quality is such that they have become the de facto standard for Type 1 versions of the fonts.
AMS fonts (52 fonts, optical scaling) The AMS
This set of fonts offers adjuncts to the CM set, including
two sets of symbol fonts (msam
and msbm
) and
Euler text fonts.
These are not a self-standing family, but merit discussion here (not
least because several other families mimic the symbol fonts).
Freely-available Type 1 versions of the fonts are available on
CTAN. The eulervm
package permits use
of the Euler maths alphabet in conjunction with text fonts that do
not provide maths alphabets of their own (for instance, Adobe
Palatino or Minion).
Mathpazo version 1.003 (5 fonts) Diego Puga
The Pazo Math fonts are a family of type 1 fonts suitable for typesetting maths in combination with the Palatino family of text fonts. Four of the five fonts of the distribution are maths alphabets, in upright and italic shapes, medium and bold weights; the fifth font contains a small selection of “blackboard bold” characters (chosen for their mathematical significance). Support under LaTeX2e is available in PSNFSS; the fonts are licensed under the GPL, with legalese permitting the use of the fonts in published documents.
Fourier/Utopia (15 fonts) Michel Bovani
Fourier
is a family built on Adobe Utopia
(which has been released for usage free of charge by Adobe). The
fonts provide the basic Computer Modern set of mathematical symbols,
and add many of the AMS mathematical symbols (though you are
expected to use some from the AMS fonts themselves). There
are also several other mathematical and decorative symbols. The
fonts come with a fourier
package for use with LaTeX;
text support of OT1 encoding is not provided — you are
expected to use T1.
Fourier/New Century SchoolbookMichael Zedler
Fouriernc
is a configuration using the Fourier fonts in
the ConTeXt of New Century Schoolbook text fonts.
KP-fonts The Johannes Kepler project
The kp-fonts
family provides a comprehensive set of text
and maths fonts. The set includes replacement fixed-width and sans
fonts (though some reports have suggested that these are less
successful, and their use may be suppressed when loading the fonts’
kpfonts
LaTeX support package).
For an example, see https://tug.org/FontCatalogue/kpserif/
MathDesign (3 free families, 3 commercial-based families…so far) Paul Pichaureau
This set so far offers mathematics fonts to match the free fonts Adobe Utopia, URW Garamond and Bitstream Charter (the text versions of all of which are separately available, on CTAN, in Type 1 format), and Adobe Garamond Pro, Adobe UtopiaStd and ITC Charter (which are commercial fonts, all available for purchase on the web). There has been a little comment on these fonts, but none from actual users posted to the public forums. Users, particularly those who are willing to discuss their experiences, would obviously be welcome. Browse the CTAN directory and see which you want: there is a wealth of documentation and examples.
For samples of the free variants, see https://tug.org/FontCatalogue/garamond/ for URW Garamond
Belleek (3 fonts) Richard Kinch
Belleek is the upshot of Kinch’s thoughts on how MetaFont might be used in the future: they were published simultaneously as MetaFont source, as Type 1 fonts, and as TrueType fonts. The fonts act as “drop-in” replacements for the basic MathTime set (as an example of “what might be done”).
The paper outlining Kinch’s thoughts, proceeding from considerations of the “intellectual” superiority of MetaFont to evaluations of why its adoption is so limited and what might be done about the problem, is to be found at http://truetex.com/belleek.pdf
MTPro2 Lite Pubish or Perish (Michael Spivak)
A (functional) subset of the MathTime Pro 2 font set, that is made available, free, for general use. While it does not offer the full power of the commercial product (see below), it is nevertheless a desirable font set.
Mathptmx Alan Jeffrey, Walter Schmidt and others.
This set contains maths italic, symbol, extension, and roman virtual fonts, built from Adobe Times, Symbol, Zapf Chancery, and the Computer Modern fonts. The resulting mixture is not entirely acceptable, but can pass in many circumstances. The real advantage is that the mathptm fonts are (effectively) free, and the resulting PostScript files can be freely exchanged. Support under LaTeX2e is available in PSNFSS.
Computer Modern Bright Free scalable outline versions of these fonts do exist; they are covered below together with their commercial parallels.
URW Classico (4 fonts) LaTeX support by Bob Tennent
These are clones of Zapf’s Optima available from CTAN (for
non-commercial use only). Mathematics support can be provided by
using packages eulervm
or sansmath
. As a
sans-serif font family, Optima is especially suitable for
presentations.
The excellent font catalogue keeps an up-to-date list which describes the fonts by giving names and short examples, only. (At the time of writing — June 2008 — the list has several that are only scheduled for inclusion here.
Another useful document is Stephen Hartke’s “Free maths font survey”,
which is available on CTAN in both PDF and
HTML formats. The survey covers most of the fonts mentioned in
the font catalogue, but also mentions some (such as Belleek
that the catalogue omits.
Fonts capable of setting TeX mathematics, that are available commercially, include:
BA Math (13 fonts) MicroPress Inc.
BA Math is a family of serif fonts, inspired by the elegant and graphically perfect font design of John Baskerville. BA Math comprises the fonts necessary for mathematical typesetting (maths italic, math symbols and extensions) in normal and bold weights. The family also includes all OT1 and T1 encoded text fonts of various shapes, as well as fonts with most useful glyphs of the TS1 encoding. Macros for using the fonts with Plain TeX, LaTeX 2.09 and current LaTeX are provided.
For further details (including samples) see
CH Math (15 fonts) MicroPress Inc.
CH Math is a family of slab serif fonts, designed as a maths companion for Bitstream Charter. (The distribution includes four free Bitstream text fonts, in addition to the 15 hand-hinted MicroPress fonts.) For further details (including samples) see http://www.micropress-inc.com/fonts/chmath/chmain.htm
Computer Modern Bright (62 fonts — optical scaling) Walter Schmidt
CM Bright is a family of sans serif fonts, based on Knuth’s
CM fonts. It comprises the fonts necessary for mathematical
typesetting, including AMS symbols, as well as text and text
symbol fonts of various shapes. The collection comes with its own
set of files for use with LaTeX. The CM Bright fonts are
supplied in Type 1 format by MicroPress, Inc. The
hfbright
bundle offers free Type 1 fonts for text using
the OT1 encoding — the cm-super
fonts provide the
fonts in T1 text encoding but don’t support CM bright
mathematics.
For further details of Micropress’ offering (including samples) see http://www.micropress-inc.com/fonts/brmath/brmain.htm
Concrete Math (25 fonts — optical scaling) Ulrik Vieth
The Concrete Math font set was derived from the Concrete Roman typefaces designed by Knuth. The set provides a collection of math italics, math symbol, and math extension fonts, and fonts of AMS symbols that fit with the Concrete set, so that Concrete may be used as a complete replacement for Computer Modern. Since Concrete is considerably darker than CM, the family may particularly attractive for use in low-resolution printing or in applications such as posters or transparencies. Concrete Math fonts, as well as Concrete Roman fonts, are supplied in Type 1 format by MicroPress, Inc.
For further information (including samples) see http://www.micropress-inc.com/fonts/ccmath/ccmain.htm
HV Math (14 fonts) MicroPress Inc.
HV Math is a family of sans serif fonts, inspired by the Helvetica (TM) typeface. HV Math comprises the fonts necessary for mathematical typesetting (maths italic, maths symbols and extensions) in normal and bold weights. The family also includes all OT1 and T1 encoded text fonts of various shapes, as well as fonts with most useful glyphs of the TS1 encoding. Macros for using the fonts with Plain TeX, LaTeX 2.09 and current LaTeX are provided. Bitmapped copies of the fonts are available free, on CTAN.
For further details (and samples) see http://www.micropress-inc.com/fonts/hvmath/hvmain.htm
Informal Math (7 outline fonts) MicroPress Inc.
Informal Math is a family of fanciful fonts loosely based on the Adobe’s Tekton (TM) family, fonts which imitate handwritten text. Informal Math comprises the fonts necessary for mathematical typesetting (maths italic, maths symbols and extensions) in normal weight, as well as OT1 encoded text fonts in upright and oblique shapes. Macros for using the fonts with Plain TeX, LaTeX 2.09 and current LaTeX are provided.
For further details (including samples) see http://www.micropress-inc.com/fonts/ifmath/ifmain.htm
Lucida Bright with Lucida New Math (25 fonts) Chuck Bigelow and Kris Holmes
Lucida is a family of related fonts including seriffed, sans serif,
sans serif fixed width, calligraphic, blackletter, fax, Kris Holmes’
connected handwriting font, etc; they’re not as “spindly” as
Computer Modern, with a large x-height, and include a larger set of
maths symbols, operators, relations and delimiters than CM
(over 800 instead of 384: among others, it also includes the
AMS msam
and msbm
symbol sets). “Lucida Bright Expert”
(14 fonts) adds seriffed fixed width, another handwriting font,
smallcaps, bold maths, upright “maths italic”, etc., to the
set. Support under LaTeX is available under the auspices of the
PSNFSS, and pre-built metrics are also provided.
TUG has the right to distribute these fonts; the web site “Lucida and TUG” has details.
Adobe Lucida, LucidaSans and LucidaMath (12 fonts)
Lucida and LucidaMath are generally considered to be a bit heavy. The three maths fonts contain only the glyphs in the CM maths italic, symbol, and extension fonts. Support for using LucidaMath with TeX is not very good; you will need to do some work reencoding fonts etc. (In some sense this set is the ancestor of the LucidaBright plus LucidaNewMath font set, which are not currently available.)
MathTime Pro2 Publish or Perish (Michael Spivak)
This latest instance of the MathTime family covers all the weights (medium, bold and heavy) and symbols of previous versions of MathTime. In addition it has a much extended range of symbols, and many typographic improvements that make for high-quality documents. The fonts are supported under both Plain TeX and LaTeX2e, and are exclusively available for purchase from Personal TeX Inc.
For further details and samples and fliers, see http://www.pctex.com/mtpro2.html
Minion Pro and MnSymbolAdobe, LaTeX support and packaging by Achim Blumensath et al.
Minion Pro
derives from the widely-available commercial
OpenType font of the same name by Adobe; scripts are provided to
convert relevant parts of it to Adobe Type 1 format. The
MinionPro
package will set up text and maths support using
Minion Pro
, but a separate (free) font set
MnSymbol
greatly extends the symbol coverage.
PA Math is a family of serif fonts loosely based on the Palatino (TM) typeface. PA Math comprises the fonts necessary for mathematical typesetting (maths italics, maths, calligraphic and oldstyle symbols, and extensions) in normal and bold weights. The family also includes all OT1, T1 encoded text fonts of various shapes, as well as fonts with the most useful glyphs of the TS1 encoding. Macros for using the fonts with Plain TeX, LaTeX 2.09 and current LaTeX are provided.
For further details (and samples) see http://www.micropress-inc.com/fonts/pamath/pamain.htm
TM Math (14 fonts) MicroPress Inc.
TM Math is a family of serif fonts, inspired by the Times (TM) typeface. TM Math comprises the fonts necessary for mathematical typesetting (maths italic, maths symbols and extensions) in normal and bold weights. The family also includes all OT1 and T1 encoded text fonts of various shapes, as well as fonts with most useful glyphs of the TS1 encoding. Macros for using the fonts with Plain TeX, LaTeX 2.09 and current LaTeX are provided. Bitmapped copies of the fonts are available free, on CTAN.
For further details (and samples) see http://www.micropress-inc.com/fonts/tmmath/tmmain.htm
Two other font sets should be mentioned, even though they don’t currently produce satisfactory output — their author is no longer working on them, and several problems have been identified:
Pxfonts set version 1.0 (26 fonts) by Young Ryu
The pxfonts
set consists of
Adobe Palatino
(or its URW replacement, Palladio
)
with modified plus, equal and slash symbols;Palatino
(or Palladio
;cmsy
, cmmi
, cmex
and the Greek
letters of cmr
)msam
and msbm
);The text fonts are available in OT1, T1 and LY1
encodings, and TS encoded symbols are also available. The
sans serif and monospaced fonts supplied with the txfonts
set (see below) may be used with pxfonts
; the
txfonts
set should be installed whenever pxfonts
are. LaTeX, dvips
and pdfTeX support files are
included.
The fonts are not perfect; the widths assigned to the characters in
the tfm
file are wrong for some glyphs; this can cause
sequences of characters to “look wrong”, or in some cases even to
overlap; the newpx
fonts (noted above) aim to reduce
these problems.
The fonts are licensed under the GPL; use in published documents is permitted.
Newpx by Michael Sharpe from Young Ryu’s pxfonts
This collection is derived from pxfonts
; the maths fonts
metrics have been adjusted so that the output is less cramped than
when pxfonts
is used; the appearance of the output is
much improved. Two packages are provided, newpxtext
for
using the associated text fonts, and newpxmath
for
mathematics.
Txfonts set version 3.1 (42 fonts) by Young Ryu
The txfonts
set consists of
Adobe Times
(or
the URW Nimbus Roman No9 L
font that
substitutes for Times, which is distributed as part of the
URW “basic 35” collection) with
modified plus, equal and slash symbols;Adobe Helvetica
);Times
, or the URW
equivalent NimbusRomanNo9
;cmsy
, cmmi
, cmex
and the Greek
letters of cmr
)msam
and msbm
);The text fonts are available in OT1, T1 and LY1 encodings, and TS encoded symbols are also available.
The fonts are not perfect; the widths assigned to the characters in
the tfm
file are wrong for some glyphs; this can cause
sequences of characters to “look wrong”, or in some cases even to
overlap; the newtx
fonts (noted above) aim to reduce
these problems.
The fonts are licensed under the GPL; use in published documents is permitted.
Txfontsb set version 1.00 by Young Ryu and Antonis Tsolomitis
The txfontsb
bundles txfonts
, extended to
provide a Small Caps set, Old-Style numbers and Greek text (from the
GNU Freefont set).
Documentation
is available for this variant, too.
Newtxby Michael Sharpe from Young Ryu’s txfonts
This collection is derived from txfonts
; the maths fonts
metrics have been adjusted so that the output is less cramped than
when txfonts
is used; the appearance of the output is
much improved. Two packages are provided, newtxtext
for
using the associated text fonts, and newtxmath
for
mathematics. Options are provided to substitute
letters and symbols from the Libertine
set, and from the
Garamond extension font garamondx
(but note that
garamondx
, which is an adaptation of URW Garamond,
is not available via TeX Live).
Finally, one must not forget:
Proprietary fonts Various sources.
Since having a high quality font set in scalable outline form that works with TeX can give a publisher a real competitive advantage, there are some publishers that have paid (a lot) to have such font sets made for them. Unfortunately, these sets are not available on the open market, despite the likelihood that they’re more complete than those that are.
We observe a very limited selection of commercial maths font sets; a Type 1 maths font has to be explicitly designed for use with TeX, which is an expensive business, and is of little appeal in other markets. Furthermore, the TeX market for commercial fonts is minute by comparison with the huge sales of other font sets.
Text fonts in Type 1 format are available from many vendors including Adobe, Monotype and Bitstream. However, be careful with cheap font “collections”; many of them dodge copyright restrictions by removing (or crippling) parts of the font programs such as hinting. Such behaviour is both unethical and bad for the consumer. The fonts may not render well (or at all, under ATM), may not have the “standard” complement of 228 glyphs, or may not include metric files (which you need to make TFM files).
TrueType was for a long time the “native” format for Windows, but MicroSoft joined the development of the OpenType specification, and “modern” windows will work happily with fonts in either format. Some TeX implementations such as TrueTeX use TrueType versions of Computer Modern and Times Maths fonts to render TeX documents in Windows without the need for additional system software like ATM. (When used on a system running Windows XP or later, TrueTeX can also use Adobe Type 1 fonts.)
When choosing fonts, your own system environment may not be the only one of interest. If you will be sending your finished documents to others for further use, you should consider whether a given font format will introduce compatibility problems. Publishers may require TrueType exclusively because their systems are Windows-based, or Type 1 exclusively, because their systems are based on the early popularity of that format in the publishing industry. Many service bureaus don’t care as long as you present them with a finished print file (PostScript or PDF) for their output device.
FAQ ID: Q-psfchoice