Monday, October 20, 2008

Finding the right LaTeX font

If you're new to LaTeX, it is highly possible that you end up having to learn far more than you ever wanted to know about fonts.  Personally, apart from a cursory understanding of fonts, I never bothered learning more about fonts in LaTeX.

Too much to learn and very little benefits.  I mean try talking to your colleagues about Arial and Helvetica differences and watch them edge away with "hey, almost missed my meeting, see you".

I jest.

It's not that you need to know that much into fonts in LaTeX but it helps.  But with all packaging done now by TeXLive and MikTeX, there is very little you need to know.

  1. Ask for a font that fits your specific needs in the comp.text.tex newsgroup.  Read the replies, links and FAQs
  2. Download and install from your distribution through the package manager.
That's it;in most cases.   I haven't installed a single font manually in over 6 or 7 years.  That's how well you can manage with the default installation

OR a sign of my laziness as I have NEVER installed a single font manually

In order to save you sometime over agonizing over font choices, you could always check out the LaTeX font catalogue to see whether you like any of the fonts under different categories.  It also provides the methods of using it in your document when you click on a link.

It would also dispel the notion that there aren't enough font choices in LaTeX.  And if you're a neophyte in font taste like me, pretty soon, your eyes glaze over and everything looks the same to you.  Trust me on that.  10 minutes into all that choices, I'm like "What am I looking for?"

But I digress.  Do take a look there to pick a good font for your posters, reports and special needs.