[OS X TeX] Book Design Resources

Simon Spiegel simon at simifilm.ch
Mon Nov 27 09:23:03 EST 2006

On 27.11.2006, at 15:02, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Le 27 nov. 06 à 14:35, David Oliver a écrit :
>> Lastly, there have been a number of documents describing the  
>> installation of new fonts in LaTeX, a process that is less simple  
>> than one might hope, and some of these go pack some years. What is  
>> the most up to date document describing installation of new fonts?
> The most flexible way of using fonts in TeX on the Mac is XeTeX  
> <http://scripts.sil.org/xetex>. It can use whichever font is known  
> to OS X, with the fontspec package making it easier in LaTeX; see  
> <ftp://tug.ctan.org/pub/tex-archive/macros/xetex/latex/fontspec/ 
> fontspec.pdf>.
> There are two problems, though, at present with XeTeX:
> (1) Many LaTeX packages don't play nice with it: XeTeX represents a  
> new DVI-to-PDF driver, compared with the ubiquitous dvips and  
> pdfTeX, and many LaTeX packages include driver definition files for  
> only dvips or pdfTeX (or, even worse, include hardwired switches  
> for dvips and pdfTeX).
> Of course, the above is an oversimplification: XeTeX uses an  
> extension of the DVI format called XDV, and it can be configured to  
> use either of two XDV-to-PDF converters: the default converter  
> xdv2pdf, which is MacOS-specific and can use all the font formats  
> known to OS X and all the graphic formats known to QuickTime  
> (including TIFF, which pdfTeX cannot handle); the alternative  
> converter xdvipdfmx, which is cross-platform but can handle less  
> font formats and less graphic formats. XeTeX itself is now cross- 
> platform, having started on the Mac.
> (2) XeTeX cannot deal with virtual fonts. This means in practice  
> that for maths you're limited to Computer Modern, with the above  
> niceties being available for text only. That is likely to change in  
> the future, especially when the STIX fonts will be released. (And I  
> am myself using happily the Lucida fonts for maths in XeTeX.)
> All this is evolving rapidly, as XeTeX is getting wider exposure in  
> the TeX community. (For example, it will be included in TeXLive  
> 2006, and the pdfTeX and XeTeX developers know each other and speak  
> to each other.)
> Apart from that, there's the tutorial <http://tug.org/mactex/fonts/ 
> fonttutorial-current.html>. Beware that it's largely outdated  
> (though the adaptations should be straightforward enough to figure  
> out).

Let me just add my 2 cents here: Setting up a new font in LaTeX is  
tedious at best. There are the relevant files for some popular fonts  
available, but if you want to use a more exotic font, it's getting  
really, really, really complicated. I tried several times to dig into  
this and gave up every time.

With XeTeX OTOH it's dead easy. Especially the fontspec packages  
gives you all the flexibility you can wish for. Since I don't use  
math, the limitation mentioned by Bruno didn't bother me. For me  
something else was important: XeTeX doesn't support the microtype  
package which allows automatic font expansion and optical alignment.  
In my understandin this limitation has some principal architectural  
reasons and wont be resolved for quite some time. Since the microtype  
package really improves the text, I ended using pdfTeX for my thesis.

There's also another development going on: Currently, Taco Hoekwater  
is working on LuaTeX which will eventually become pdfTeX 2. LuaTeX  
will add the lua language to TeX and it will feature complete unicode  
and OpenType support. So this will also allow direct use of OpenType  
fonts. Unfortunately this wont be ready for another year or so AFAIK.


Simon Spiegel
Steinhaldenstr. 50
8002 Zürich

Telephon: ++41 44 451 5334
Mobophon: ++41 76 459 60 39


"I'm not that easy to impress. – O, a blue car." Homer Simpson

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