[tex-live] Unicode font support

Jonathan Kew jfkthame at googlemail.com
Tue May 5 04:41:00 CEST 2009

On 4 May 2009, at 19:07, Timothy Legg wrote:

> I have tried all these and they are very confusing.  I have don't  
> consider myself a LaTeX developer nor an expert in typesetting or  
> fonts and it would take at least a year for me to get to that point.
> I transcribed a 150 year old book into UNICODE and I don't want to  
> generate the PDFs using OpenOffice anymore because it was way too  
> time consuming considering the document is being actively proofread  
> and needing to be reproduced every week or so.
> I seemed to be able to copy the steps on the radamir.com site, but  
> that is oriented for the windows version of LaTeX.  At this point, I  
> guess I am willing to install windows on an old hard disk to use  
> this font with LaTeX.  As far as the texdoc files, I was lost from  
> the very beginning of those two documents.  The sil.org link seems  
> to go to the front page of some competing project (was there a typo  
> in the address?).

That link led to a page about XeTeX, which is an extension of TeX that  
supports Unicode and TrueType fonts "natively" without requiring  
complex setup. It's not a "competing" project, it is simply an  
extended version that sounds as though it would fit your needs rather  
well. (OK, I admit to being biased, as the developer!)

If you have your font installed where typical GUI applications can  
find it (e.g., ~/.fonts), and your document is a Unicode-encoded text  
file with LaTeX markup, you should be able to add

   \setmainfont{Your Special Font} % use the name of your font, as  
shown by Font Book.app

to the document preamble, and then process it with xelatex (i.e.,  
XeTeX using the LaTeX format) instead of latex or pdflatex. Assuming  
you did a normal installation of TeX Live (not a "minimal" setup, for  
instance), you already have xetex and xelatex on your system; they're  
a standard part of the distribution.

You'll probably want some additional options and features, but that  
should be enough to get started, given the requirements you've  
described. The best place to get additional help would be the XeTeX  
mailing list:


> Is there any document that will tell me what to type in order to  
> accomplish what I need without being an expert in the internals of  
> what composes font files or LaTeX stuff.  I only need to do this  
> once and I just want it to work...  It is just a TTF file and I  
> thought they were standard...

They are, but TeX predates them and knows nothing about them; hence,  
it takes some effort to make them work together.


More information about the tex-live mailing list