[pdftex] Re: General Command to Change FONTS

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Mon Aug 16 03:30:57 CEST 2004

>>>>> "Rolf" == Rolf Marvin Bøe Lindgren <roffe at aqualene.uio.no> writes:

    > serif fonts are more legible.  they make it easier to pick up
    > several letters at once, guiding the reader and making reading
    > faster and more accurate.

    > sans serif fonts are more readable.  the eye has to stop at each
    > letter.  this is the reason why serif fonts are sometimes
    > preferred in books for children, the mentally challenged and in
    > general poor readers who need to read each letter separately
    > before combining them into words.

I doubt that sans serif fonts are more readable.  You can try the
following (plain) TeX file:

\font\sf=phvr \sf milliliter \bye

You can even try with Futura if you have this horrible font.  Or even
better, rename an icon on a Windows desktop to "milliliter".

The reason sans serif fonts are used in books for children is not that
they are better readable.  The reason is that children cannot deal
with too complex geometric structures.  And it is not a good idea to
torture children with Helvetica.  There are special fonts for children.

Serifs not only lead the eyes, they obviously make similar glyphs look
different and narrow glyphs wider without producing gaps between the

Furthermore, if you have to typeset mathematics, *never* use a font
where you can't distinguish between an uppercase "I" and a lowercase
"L".  I recently had this problem.  Quite annoying.

    > any textbook on typography will argue in favor of serif for
    > main matter in all but exceptional circumstances. 

Yes, though many textbooks about typography, even written by very
famous typographers, use sans serif fonts for the main matter.  People
obviously regard serif fonts as old-fashioned.  Quite curious.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-4592165
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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