# Which LaTeX fonts can be practically considered as available on most platforms?

Does anyone know of a list of LaTeX fonts that can be considered as already available on typical platforms? My interpretation of "typical platform" now means Windows XP, Vista, 7, whatever the current crop of Mac OSes are and, possibly not very likely, Ubuntu.

I know there are other platforms (I've had quite a few Linux distributions around the house), but in my case the above matches the platforms readers of my non-math LaTeX documents would have.

Of course, I am aware of the Font Catalogue, but my question is looking for the "safe subset" which I could use without my readers having problems and needing to install fonts. To be precise, I'm producing PDFs. Ignoring Ubuntu, it's quite possible that most readers will also have MS Office installed (which comes with a number of fonts) but I cannot guarantee it, so to play it safe, I cannot fully rely on it.

I did google for this, but couldn't find such a list, perhaps others know more.

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I'm not quite sure what is your question: (1) You want to produce a PDF file without embedding any fonts and you'd like to know when this is "safe"? (2) You would like to make sure that all Latex users can compile your document without installing additional packages? – Jukka Suomela Sep 6 '10 at 21:19
The former. I am not sure how yet to tell LaTeX to embed the fonts, so I wanted to know which fonts I can assume already available. – wishihadabettername Sep 6 '10 at 21:28
– Jukka Suomela Sep 6 '10 at 21:40
And in brief, if you just use the standard Latex fonts (Computer Modern) and you use the `pdflatex` command to compile your document and you don't have any illustrations in your Latex document, everything should be 100% safe. Your final PDF file will use non-standard fonts, but they are embedded and therefore all PDF viewers will display them correctly. Otherwise, see the answers linked above for some related discussion; remember that you can always use the `pdffonts` command to check that all fonts are embedded ("emb" = "yes"). – Jukka Suomela Sep 6 '10 at 21:44

Even if everyone had certain fonts installed, that wouldn't mean they had them installed for use with LaTeX. The ones in the catalogue are really the only ones typically set up for regular LaTeX support.

Or are you distributing XeLaTeX documents which use system fonts? If so, you might be interested in the empirical data here on which fonts are typically installed on which platforms: Here. Take these with a grain of salt. I personally run linux and use only free fonts if I can help it, and hence I do not have Times or Helvetica or Arial or Courier or anything like that installed. (I do have some free clones like Nimbus Roman/Nimbus Sans and the TeX Gyre fonts installed, however.)

If instead, you're looking for regular LaTeX fonts, and are asking which of the fonts listed in the catalogue does nearly everyone have installed, while I agree that only Computer Modern is guaranteed, I think just about everyone is going to have the standard PostScript fonts installed. These are the ones listed in psnfss2e.pdf.

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AFAIK, nothing other than Computer Modern is guaranteed. TeXLive and other TeX distributions come with a plethora of free fonts, but nothing guarantees that the user actually installs them.

That being said, if you are distribution PDFs rather than TeX sources, then you don't need to worry about any of this, PDF will typically have the fonts embedded and no font installation is needed on your readers' side.

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The PDF standard contains a list. See this answer for more details.

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