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I often see printed LaTeX documents where the horizontal stroke of the 'e' is invisible -- even among different printers, documents, and people who print them. The image below shows it occurring on some lines of text, but not others, within a single document. It seems like an aliasing artifact. I'd like to learn more about it and avoid it.

enter image description here

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2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Computer Modern is a modern font, which means that the widths of different kinds of strokes in glyphs differ greatly. The horizontal stroke of e is very thin compared to others and as such may pose a challenge if the printing quality is not sufficient. I've seen the effect you describe (along with parts of c and o disappearing) when printed on an inkjet printer in draft mode.

You can try either of these things:

  • Increase printing quality
  • Use a different font (transitional or old style) that is more readable and has heavier strokes. (You may find some font examples here.)

To comment on your hypothesis, more information is needed. (What software do you use? Do you use vector or raster fonts?)

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The document I printed looks like it's using vector fonts. In my viewer, I zoomed into the text and it is re-rendered each time crisply. –  Gus Jun 24 '11 at 15:55

This might be caused by using a low-resolution bitmap version of the Computer Modern fonts. Originally the fonts were built separately for different resolutions, and the user was responsible for selecting the correct font whose resolution matched the printer's resolution. Nowadays, screen display and printing processes are heavily optimized for vector fonts, so you absolutely have to make sure that you use vector fonts exclusively. Raster fonts in TeX documents nowadays usually use the Type 3 font format, while vector fonts use Type 1, TrueType, or OpenType. So make sure (using e.g. the pdffonts utility) that you have no Type 3 fonts in your document.

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