[tex-live] fc-cache documentation ?

Arash Esbati arash.esbati+ml at gmail.com
Mon Aug 29 11:54:40 CEST 2016

Philip Taylor <P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk> writes:

> I discovered, after considerable trial and error, that running :
>     fc-cache -v C:/Windows/Fonts
> before attempting any XeTeX compilation caused a multi-second
> improvement in performance (without the preliminary fc-cache command,
> loading the first font took upwards of 10 seconds, even with an SSD as
> C:).  But TeXdoc fc-cache tells me it does not have anything relevant.
> Where is fc-cache documented, please, and how is the "normal" user to
> learn (a) of its existence, and (b) of its potential importance.

My apologies if I missed this answer in the discussion, but TL's
documentation answers both:

3.4.4 System font configuration for XeTEX and LuaTEX

XeTEX and LuaTEX can use any font installed on the system, not just
those in the TEX trees. They do these via related but not identical

On Windows, fonts shipped with TEX Live are automatically made available
to XeTEX by font name. On Mac OS X, supporting font name lookups
requires additional steps; please see the MacTEX web pages
(http://tug.org/mactex). For other Unix systems, the procedure to be
able to find the fonts shipped with TEX Live via font name follows.

To facilitate this, when the xetex package is installed (either at
initial installation or later), the necessary configuration file is
created in TEXMFSYSVAR/fonts/conf/texlive-fontconfig.conf.

To set up the TEX Live fonts for system-wide use (assuming you have
suitable privileges), proceed as follows:

    1. Copy the texlive-fontconfig.conf file to
    2. Run fc-cache -fsv.

If you do not have sufficient privileges to carry out the steps above,
or if you want to make the TEX Live fonts available to only one user,
you can do the following:

    1. Copy the texlive-fontconfig.conf file to ~/.fonts.conf, where ~
    is your home directory.
    2. Run fc-cache -fv.

You can run fc-list to see the names of the system fonts. The
incantation fc-list : family style file spacing (all arguments are
literal strings) shows some generally interesting information.

6.2 Additional software included on Windows

fc-list, fc-cache, ...
    The tools from the fontconfig library allow XeTEX to handle system
    fonts on Windows. You can use fc-list to determine the font names to
    pass to XeTEX’s extended \font command. If necessary, run fc-cache
    first to update font information.

Best, Arash

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