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I'm using \textlsfrom the microtype package to increase space between letters, but I can't find a command that will make a text look narrow (or maybe a very narrow serif font?).

What is the best way of giving a "compact" effect to a text?

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If you're installing the font yourself, for instance otftotfm allows an option extend which can be used to make a condensed fornt. –  Stephan Lehmke Aug 31 '12 at 20:19
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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

if the text that you want to be "narrow" is just short phrases, and they don't need to be broken into lines, you can cheat, and use \scalebox from the graphicx package. for example:

some text with part of it compressed horizontally

the narrowed portion was produced with

\scalebox{.7}[1.0]{This text is narrowed.}

you do need the optional [1.0] height, since you want to change the aspect ratio.

it's not wonderful, and the limitations are, well, limiting, but it doesn't require anything you haven't already got.

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Thank you. It is interesting indeed, although it distords the text a bit, but that's to be expected… I'll change the selected anwser to this one because it does answer the question best. –  ℝaphink Aug 31 '12 at 20:21
    
@Raphink -- i guess i'd say it distorts the text more than "a bit". really, a condensed font would be your best option, and stephan lehmke's comment on the original question sounds quite plausible. an example of a "cm" condensed font appears on p.35 in the article by knuth "typesttting concrete mathematics". the metafont sources are on ctan; i don't believe there is a type 1 version. –  barbara beeton Aug 31 '12 at 21:04
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\textls accepts an optional argument to specify the amount of letterspacing; the default value is 100 (i.e., each character is spaced out by 0.1em). It is possible to specify a negative value.

(I should point out that choosing a "narrow" font design is far better than this brute-force solution. Also, the value of -35 in my example was chosen for demonstration purposes and borders the intolerable.)

\documentclass[12pt]{article}

\usepackage{microtype}
\usepackage[english]{babel}
\usepackage{blindtext}

\begin{document}

\textls[100]{\blindtext}%  or just \textls{\blindtext}

\textls[45]{\blindtext} 

\blindtext

\textls[-35]{\blindtext} 

\end{document}
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1  
Thanks. This makes the text more compact by removing spaces between letters. Do you know how the font could be compacted? –  ℝaphink Apr 12 '11 at 15:56
    
@Raphink: Sadly, no. –  lockstep Apr 12 '11 at 16:03
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You can also search for a font with a condensed set of characters

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}

\usepackage[shrink=40,letterspace=500]{microtype}
\usepackage[english]{babel}
\usepackage{blindtext}
\begin{document}

\blindtext

\fontdimen2\font=1.5pt
\blindtext

\end{document}
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Interesting. The result looks very similar to what I get with @lockstep's answer, it doesn't seem to really affect how narrow the letters are rendered, but rather reduce the spacing. –  ℝaphink Apr 12 '11 at 17:22
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