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How do I typeset an entire document in Helvetica/sans serif without littering the document with font changes for every heading/paragraph, etc.? Like this but with the paragraphs all in Helvetica.

For example, I've seen documents typeset in Computer Modern and then switched to Palatino, but can I do the same with Helvetica with a few commands at the beginning?

(And please don't tell me to use a serif font for body copy / paragraphs. I know. I'm trying to use latex to typeset my resume to look like the one I've created in a word processor, which is hard to maintain but looks good. I'm hoping latex will let me do more advanced formatting/layout, separating content from form.)

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up vote 45 down vote accepted

\renewcommand{\familydefault}{\sfdefault} will switch to using sans-serif for everything except mathematics. The sans-serif will be computer modern sans unless you also put \usepackage{helvet} in the preamble in order to make the default sans be Helvetica (or \usepackage{avant} for Avant-Garde, etc.

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Usually yes, although it's possible that a particular distribution has been installed so that that isn't the default. For most standardly installed distributions, though, font embedding is enabled by default, AFAIK. – Alan Munn Jul 5 '11 at 18:40
@Lev, Is there a package that does this automatically?, that is, without the ugly \renewcommand{\familydefault}{\sfdefault} code. (Nothing against it, but this is the kind of code makes me embarrassed to explain to newcomers) – alfC Mar 22 '13 at 20:50
The command \usepackage{helvet} does not provide Helvetica font, but an Helvetica clone called Nimbus Sans L. – user34087 Jul 24 '13 at 8:09
@alfC: some packages (eg: sourcesanspro, cabin) provide an option. The LaTeX Font Catalogue will show this in the code example for most (but not all) packages. – Silke Jul 24 '13 at 21:46
@alfC haha. ok ;) I definitely sympathise with the idea that TeX/LaTeX is the opposite of newbie-friendly (user-friendly, even). – isomorphismes Jun 4 '14 at 4:25

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