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Formatting Information — An introduction to typesetting with LATEX

Appendix B: Installing new fonts

In this appendix…

  1. TrueType and OpenType fonts
  2. Installing METAFONT fonts
  3. Installing PostScript fonts
  4. Updating your font maps

Different fonts come in a variety of packagings: the most commonly used with TEX systems are PostScript fonts and METAFONT fonts, but XƎLATEX also lets you use TrueType and OpenType fonts. How you install them and where they go depends on how you installed LATEX: all I can deal with here are the standard locations within the TDS. These typefaces come supplied as one or more font ‘outline’ files and a number of ancillary files:

METAFONT typefaces

have a number of .mf source (outline) files, possibly also some .fd (font definition) files and a .sty (style) file. The .tfm (TEX font metric) files are not needed at installation, as they get generated from the outlines automatically the first time you use the font.

PostScript typefaces

come as a pair of files: a .pfb (PostScript font binary) or .pfa (PostScript font ASCII) outline, and an .afm (Adobe font metric) file. There may also be .inf and other files but these are not needed for use with TEX systems.

TrueType and OpenType typefaces

are a single .ttf or .otf file, which combines outlines and metrics in one.

The instructions for Type 1 and METAFONT typefaces here assume the use of the New Font Selection Scheme (NFSS) used in LATEX. If you are running the obsolete LATEX 2.09, upgrade it now, because none of this will work.

As TrueType and OpenType are the easiest to deal with, I‘ll mention them first.

  1. On UNIX & GNU/Linux systems, including Apple Macintosh OS X, the easiest way to do this is in a Terminal window, in your Personal TEX Directory, using the command mkdir -p fonts/source/public/whatever, as this creates any intervening subdirectories for you. Under Windows, you have to create each subsubdirectory individually. 

  2. Confusingly, Bitstream fonts (and others from similar sources) mostly have different names from the original fonts, to avoid copyright issues, so what they call Humanist 521 is actually Gill Sans. Until recently, US law only allowed the names of typefaces to be copyrighted, not the font designs themselves, leading to widespread piracy. 

  3. Y&Y, Inc has ceased trading and their TEX distribution is not longer available, although there is email support at, and their encoding files continue to be used. 

  4. The only one I had problems with is ‘Å’, which for some weird reason isn’t catered for in this encoding.