[XeTeX] Checking if a font exists

Barry MacKichan barry.mackichan at mackichan.com
Mon Aug 30 05:08:10 CEST 2010

 Since xetex uses fontcache, a extra benefit for Windows users is that
they now have a version. By default it looks at the Windows font
directory among others.


On 8/29/2010 3:39 PM, Grzegorz Murzynowski wrote:
> W dniu 29.08.2010 19:18, Barry MacKichan pisze:
>>   Some variation of
>> fc-list "Myriad Pro">  somefile
>> should get you a file you can run a test on.
> And when the 18th output is on (writing to shell), you can put
>         \immediate\write 18{fc-list "Myriad Pro" > fontcheck.tex}
>         \newread\fontcheck
>         \immediate\openin\fontcheck="fontcheck.tex"
>         \ifeof \fontcheck …
> in your main TeX file. (I tested only the first line).
> and of course test the font names listed in that file in any way you
> please.
> (Note I'm a Linux (Ubuntu) user and know not much about what font-list
> command is available in other OS-es (and if any)).
> Anyway, thank you Barry MacKichan for the tip: I asked the same
> question on this list some months (years?) ago and the aswers were
> rather unsatisfactory.
> *This* looks it could work.
> Rgds —
> Grzegorz Murzynowski.
>> --Barry macKichan
>> On 8/29/2010 10:56 AM, Alan Munn wrote:
>>> On Aug 29, 2010, at 12:24 PM, Michiel Kamermans wrote:
>>>> Hi Alan,
>>>>> Is there a way to check whether a font is present in a user's
>>>>> system?  I need to generate a document with Myriad Pro if it exists,
>>>>> Arial otherwise, and if neither, exit with an error.
>>>> Myriad Pro is nothing like Arial, though... but just to make your
>>>> life worse: thought about version numbers? There are many versions of
>>>> Myriad Pro, and many versions of Arial. How do you know which version
>>>> numbers are permissible?
>>> Well, since I have no information on that, I'll assume that all are
>>> useable.
>>>> But let's step back for a moment because there's a fundamental
>>>> problem with your question: if you're using TeX, you're implicitly
>>>> saying you care deeply about the typesetting of your document, which
>>>> includes being particular about which stretches of text use what
>>>> font. Not just "which various fonts look good for this text", but
>>>> "which font is the one I intend to use for this bit of my document".
>>>> Rather than testing for several fonts on a user's machine, and
>>>> picking "the best match", like if the content were styled via
>>>> (X)HTML+CSS, with a font rule that specifies various fonts with
>>>> fallbals, part of the power of TeX is the fact that it will always
>>>> look the same on any machine it's compiled on, provided the
>>>> dependencies are met. So, either your document will look the same no
>>>> matter what machine it's compiled on, or it doesn't compile. The idea
>>>> that it will compile with Myriad Pro on one machine, and Arial on
>>>> another, basically violates the very idea of TeX.
>>> Sure, in an ideal world.  But this particular application is to
>>> conform to standards set by my university, and for better or for
>>> worse, they've allowed Arial to substitute for Myriad Pro if the
>>> latter is not available. And it may turn out that since I can
>>> reasonably assume that Myriad Pro should be available, I can fix
>>> things so that it is the only font used, as long as it can be found.
>>>> The better way to solve whatever problem you're having that made you
>>>> wonder how to detect certain fonts is to simply supply those fonts
>>>> along with your .tex source. If other people need to compile your
>>>> source, simply ensure that they have everything they need to
>>>> compile it?
>>> Well I don't know if redistribution of Adobe fonts is permitted (I
>>> would assume not) so this really isn't a (legal) option.
>>> Alan
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