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Text font attributes

Every text font in LaTeX has five attributes:

This specifies the order that characters appear in the font. The two most common text encodings used in LaTeX are Knuth's `TeX text' encoding, and the `TeX text extended' encoding developed by the TeX Users Group members during a TeX Conference at Cork in 1990 (hence its informal name `Cork encoding').

The name for a collection of fonts, usually grouped under a common name by the font foundry. For example, `Adobe Times', `ITC Garamond', and Knuth's `Computer Modern Roman' are all font families.

How heavy or expanded a font is. For example, `medium weight', `narrow' and `bold extended' are all series.

The form of the letters within a font family. For example, `italic', `oblique' and `upright' (sometimes called `roman') are all font shapes.

The design size of the font, for example `10pt'.

The possible values for these attributes are given short acronyms by LaTeX. The most common values for the font encoding are:


The `local' encodings are intended for font encodings which are only locally available, for example a font containing an organisation's logo in various sizes.

There are far too many font families to list them all, but some common ones are:


The most common values for the font series are:


The most common values for the font shape are:


The font size is specified as a dimension, for example 10pt or 1.5in or 3mm. These five parameters specify every LaTeX font, for example:


These five parameters are displayed whenever LaTeX gives an overfull box warning, for example:

   Overfull \hbox (3.80855pt too wide) in paragraph at lines 314--318
   []\OT1/cmr/m/n/10 Normally [] and [] will be iden-ti-cal,
The author commands for fonts set the five attributes:


The values used by these commands are determined by the document class, using the parameters defined in Section 2.4.

Note that there are no author commands for selecting new encodings. These should be provided by packages, such as the fontenc package.

This section does not explain how LaTeX font specifications are turned into TeX font names. This is described in Section 4.

next up previous contents
Next: Selection commands Up: Text fonts Previous: Text fonts

Rainer Schoepf
Thu Jul 31 16:42:26 MEST 1997