[texhax] TrueType or OpenType fonts and microtypography?

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Thu Jun 4 13:41:22 CEST 2009

On Jun 3, 2009, at 11:06 AM, Peter Seibel wrote:
> I'm typesetting a book but I may also need to let the publisher pick
> the fonts we're going to use. If they give me some arbitrary TrueType
> or OpenType fonts will I be able to convert them for use with pdfLaTeX
> in such a way that it will still be able to do:
> 1. Ligatures
> 2. Proper kerning
> 3. All the fancy stuff the microtype package does (esp. hanging  
> punctuation)
> 4. Anything else I would care about if I knew enough to care.

Yes, but it'd be better if you started w/ a Type 1 version w/ a normal  
font / expert font pair to avoid conversion issues IMO.

To use an OpenType or TrueType font w/ pdftex so, for the traditional  
setup, you'll need to:

0. check and see if the font license allows for modification /  
1. convert it into Type 1 fonts (if it's opentype), setting the  
encoding appropriately for each font, for TrueType fonts you'll need  
to break it down into 8-bit chunks each w/ appropriate encodings
2. join all of those together into a virtual font, adding in
3. install all of the pieces into pdftex

1 is covered by FontForge, though you'll likely need to do a bit of  
manual work. 2 is covered by fontinst and related utilities ---  
excellent documentation on them in


and 3 is the standard updmap or equivalent utilities as covered in  
your tex installation local guide / documentation.

There is a script for doing this sort of thing (though it uses  
different tools), but I've not used it:


I believe you'd find it much easier to use xetex or luatex though,  
since that wouldn't require fiddling w/ encodings &c. xetex would  
``just work'', though since it doesn't have explicit hanging  
punctuation one would need to handle this via macros and active  
characters (see Peter Wilson's hanging package). luatex is still in  
beta, but may be workable for your project --- if you try it I'm sure  
folks on the luatex list will be glad to help out.


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications
Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.

More information about the texhax mailing list