[OS X TeX] comprehensive font families and abbreviation?

cfrees at imapmail.org cfrees at imapmail.org
Mon Dec 29 00:25:29 CET 2008

On Sun 28th Dec, 2008 at 17:28, Duke seems to have written:

> Hi folks,
> I want to change font properties for just a single sentence (or paragraph), 
> and after googling I came up with
> {\fontfamily{FONTNAMEABBR}\selectfont
> The quick brown fox jumps over the sleazy dog.
> }
> where FONTNAMEABBR is the abbreviation of the font family that I want to use, 
> for example, cmr for Computer Modern Roman, phv for Helvetica etc. I have two 
> questions:
> 1. Where can I find a comprehensive list of font families together with 
> samples AND abbreviations? I found the following list with nice sample
> http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/allfonts.html
> but I dont know how I can use these fonts because there is nothing about 
> their abbreviations.

As far as I know, there is no single, comprehensive source of this
information. (If you discover one, please let me know. :)

Many fonts - those which have standard abbreviations - are listed in
fontname. See
/usr/local/texlive/2008/texmf-dist/doc/fontname/fontname.pdf for an
overview and the other files in
/usr/local/texlive/2008/texmf-dist/doc/fontname/ for alternative
formats etc. You can also look at the map files for fontname in

These won't include samples, of course. You will have to find those

Not all fonts use the fontname scheme so this won't cover all the
possibilities. If you know the font you want and it provides a LaTeX
package file, you should find the family name in that. You can also
discover it by simply listing the relevant LaTeX directory contents if
it provides font definition files.

Consider /usr/local/texlive/2008/texmf-dist/tex/latex/antp/, for
example. This directory contains a package file (antp.sty) which
reveals the family as "antp". You could also glean this from the font
definition files (ot4antp.fd and qxantp.fd) which are _usually_ named
as (abbreviated encoding) + (family name/abbreviation) + (.fd).

In some cases, the documentation may also tell you but not always as it
may assume you will enable the font by loading the package provided and
thus hiding the underlying font selection commands.

> 2. How do I know the font I want to use is already installed in my system and 
> that I can use it?
> FYI, I use 10.5.6 with MacTex 2008 (full package).

(1) Try it.
or (2) Search locally for it (if you know a relevantly named file).
or (3) Use tlmgr to show information (if you know the name of the
or (4) Search CTAN for it and see if it is listed as included in TeX
or (5) Look on the TeX on Mac OS X wiki:
http://mactex-wiki.tug.org/wiki/index.php?title=Typefaces. I'd like
this to include at least what's in TL and available on CTAN, together
with samples. It falls far short of that right now - especially on the
samples front. (Hint, hint: LaTeXiT seems to be the best option for
producing samples.) There are links to additional sources of
information here, too, including samples. The Font Tools page lists
some utilities for making your own.

Note that LaTeX support and the fonts themselves are not always
packaged together. In the case of commercial fonts for which free
support packages are available, this is obvious. But it is true in
other cases as well.

If you know which font you want to use, somebody will likely be able to
tell you the answers more easily than anybody can provide instructions
for finding the answers, I'm afraid.

- cfr

> Thanks,
> D.
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