[next] [prev] [prev-tail] [tail] [up]

1.6 TeX and fonts 

From the beginning Knuth provided TeX with the computer modern family of fonts. These fonts can be generated, and varied trough Metafont, by adjusting some parameters. Since the introduction of the virtual font concept, in revision '89 better known as TeX version 3, many industrial fonts can be used as well. Trough this mechanism, font elements can be combined at the driver level. The need for handling in a flexible way the positioning of diacritical marks was the incentive for adding the virtual font concept. The object being to make it feasible to handle languages with their own special placements of diacritical marks without the need to regenerate complete new fonts. An other possibility would be to generate complete font tables for every language, which is a perfectly acceptable, but will entail many font tables and of larger size.

However, since TeX is used for more and more applications the need for more fonts - different shapes, sizes and so on - has emerged. Using standard bitmap technology much computer memory is needed. To compensate for this the Adobe's Type 1 outline fonts came along with PostScript.

Outline fonts 

Outline fonts have the advantage of

Reality has it that scaling fonts linearly does not yield pleasing results. To compensate for this the hinting technology emerged. The downloading of the fonts to the printer is done more intelligently nowadays. Only the characters that are used of the font are downloaded (this is called partial font downloading).

Font markup 

Font markup has gotten a new dimension too: the linear space of available fonts is seen as a more-dimensional space governed by the coordinates family, serie, shape, and size. The approach goes with the buzzword nfss, New Font Selection Scheme. (See `The LaTeX companion.)

Which fonts can be used with TeX? 

The following classes of text fonts can be used with TeX

(Very) few fonts can be used with math, because of the specialties of the font characteristics TeX assumes. However, the following fonts can be used with math For more details see Horn's Scalable outline fonts paper, and for Japanese Fujiura in ttn 1, 2.

And what about color? 

Coupled to PostScript (La)TeX can yield results in color. Together with Adobe's illustrator or CorelDraw these color figures can be edited and included in (La)TeX as an epsf figure.

Drivers for Deskjet color printers are also available.

[next] [prev] [prev-tail] [front] [up]