Using fonts from the LaTeX Font Catalogue --- a few comments.

Rolf Turner r.turner at
Tue May 4 05:42:27 CEST 2021

Heartfelt thanks to all who responded to my cri coeur.

I have small number of comments.

On Mon, 03 May 2021 01:15:05 -0400
Bob Tennent <rdtennent at> wrote:

>  >|Let me give an explicit example.  I'd like to make use of a cursive
>  >|script font.  Looking through the LaTeX font catalogue, I found a
>  >font |that seems to be essentially what I want: BrushScriptX-Italic
>  >|
>  >|Now here's some LaTeX code:
>  >|
>  >|\documentclass{article}
>  >|% ???
>  >|% ???
>  >|\begin{document}
>  >|The quick brown hippopotamus jumped over the lazy elephant.
>  >|\end{document}
>  >|
>  >|What can/should I put in the preamble, in place of
>  >|
>  >|> % ???
>  >|> % ???
>  >|
>  >|so that I get the sentence shown to come out in
>  >"BrushScriptX-Italic" |font?  
> In the LaTeX font catalogue where you found
> BrushScriptX-Italic, click on BrushScriptX-Italic.

That was where I initially stumbled.  I'm just not a point-and-click
weeny, and it never occurred to me to click on the font names.  Obvious
in retrospect.

Apparently Philip Taylor, one of the contributors to this discussion
also stumbled at this hurdle.

In response to Philip Taylor, Bob Tenant later wrote:

> ... but I'm sure that Rolf will understand the general point that
> one uses an arbitrary font selected from the LaTeX Font Catalogue
> by clicking on the name of the font ....

No-one ever went broke by underestimating my level of understanding! :-)
I *didn't* get that, although I do now.

> That will take you a page with a Text example, Usage and Style
> example. And there is also a link to the LaTeX source of the
> Text example.

I accessed this source file, and found it to be rather bewildering and
unnecessarily complicated.  It loads the "scrartcl" package which I
gather is part of the "Koma-script" bundle.  I don't really understand
what Koma-script is all about, but I have the impression that it could
make life a lot easier in respect of handling fonts if one could learn
to drive it.  The fact that its manual is 563 pages long is a bit
daunting however.

I found Alan Litchfield's instructions (and the bare-bones Usage and
Style example) much more perspicuous.

> And you are told that the relevant package is
> part of TeXLive and its location at CTAN.
> Does this help?

Well, yes.  Now that I can get to square one it does.

Axel Retif wrote:

> I would advise you to consult the "LaTeX2e font selection" document,
> by the LaTeX3 Project Team. In your terminal,
>      texdoc fntguide

That was something I didn't know about, and to which I had previously
seen no reference.  Could indeed be useful.  However when I looked at
this document I found it a bit daunting.  I note that it says "[This
guide] is intended for package writers who want to write font-loading
packages ...."  That is certainly not my circumstance.  Writing such a
package is well beyond my capabilities.

Finally Paulo Ney de Souza contributed a posting that was highly
critical of TeX in respect of matters of font installation.  I agree
with Paulo and (as my initial posting indicated) I find the whole
process to be bewildering.

OTOH one has to cut the designers and builders of TeX and LaTeX and
various variants some slack.  Fonts are tricky things.  To start with,
it is not at all clear to me just what a font *actually* is!!!  In one
document that I looked at a distinction seemed to be made between
"font" and "typeface".  I'm sure it's an important distinction,
but I don't get it.

There are a plethora of considerations about how a font is specified:
what sort of files information about the font is stored in, the fact
that some fonts are (unfortunately) proprietary, the fact that
technology (software and hardware) keeps changing and user demands keep
changing so that the ground is constantly shifting under everyone's
feet, and so on.  Such considerations make it impossible to create a
really effective and friendly font selection system.

My fundamental desideratum is for clearer explanation.  Better
documentation, readily accessible information, simple recipes that
don't require one to read 300 pages of material in order to get started.
And when someone asks a (probably dumb) question, please try to
appreciate that the enquirer is coming at the question from a
completely different viewpoint from that of a TeX/LaTeX/etc. guru.
What's totally obvious to you is not at all obvious to us Bears of
Very Little Brain.  We need a simplistic step-by-step recipe.

I think I've got one now, in respect of how to use fonts from the
LaTeX Font Catalogue!  Thanks to everyone.


Rolf Turner

Honorary Research Fellow
Department of Statistics
University of Auckland
Phone: +64-9-373-7599 ext. 88276

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