[OS X TeX] XeTeX... infos before I switch ?

Jonathan Kew jonathan_kew at sil.org
Wed Jul 28 11:31:22 CEST 2004

I hope you'll get more extensive answers from some of those who are 
actually using XeTeX with LaTeX, BibTeX, etc., but a few comments 

On 28 Jul 2004, at 10:09 am, Gilles Serasset wrote:

> On 28 juil. 04, at 08:36, Bruno Voisin wrote:
>> For the more recent fonts specific to OS X, including Hoefler Text, 
>> Optima or Trebuchet MS, I am now using XeTeX for which no font 
>> "pre-processing" is necessary. Thus I must say I don't feel the 
>> motivation anymore for trying to make them work with standard TeX. 
>> XeTeX has its own set of problems, due to its pre-release state (for 
>> example it doesn't work well with traditional (La)TeX input such as 
>> \'e, \c c, -- or \S and expects everything to be Unicode instead in 
>> the input file, namely é ç – and § here), but the situation is 
>> rapidly improving (there is even a fix for the above shortcoming, 
>> thanks to Ross Moore). Moreover, by not requiring any font 
>> conversion, XeTeX avoids any licensing issue potentially associated 
>> with the conversion.
> Does this means that it will not work with Bibdesk managed 
> bibliographies (as bibdesk uses the TeX encoding for accents) ?

It should work just like any other TeX (though it's slower than 
pdfTeX!) *if* you're using the traditional CM fonts or similar, where 
XeTeX uses the same .tfm files as any other TeX and should produce the 
same results.

Problems with accents, etc., arise when you want to use installed OS X 
fonts, which are Unicode-encoded, but your source text still uses the 
traditional TeX conventions. To deal with this, you need to redefine 
the macros such as \', \c, \S, and so on, so that they access the 
proper Unicode characters. This has been discussed extensively on the 
XeTeX mailing list, and on July 22nd Ross Moore posted a package that 
handles a lot of these issues. See the archives of that list, if 

> If yes, is there a way to manage a bibliography file, say, in unicode, 
> and then use it in a latin1 encoded document ?

By "a Latin1 encoded document", do you mean one that includes 8-bit 
Latin1 accented characters (not only Latin1 characters represented 
using ASCII escape sequences, ^^xx hex codes, etc)? That's a problem. 
If there are actual byte values >127 in the document, XeTeX will 
misinterpret them because it expects input to be Unicode, not legacy 
byte encodings such as Latin1 or MacRoman.

> May I use XeTeX to typeset documents that are "LaTeX only" (i.e. that 
> I co-author with PC users) ?

You may, but in this case it offers no advantage over using standard 

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