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I am working on a new LaTeX template for our lab and would like to use some non-standard fonts. Is there a way to access font files relative to a document? For example, an ideal directory structure would look something like:

  /<individual grant documents>

Then, the whole thing can be stored in a version control system and shared/accessed from the many machines around the lab. I have been unable to find any way to do this so far. I don't necessarily need to access TTF fonts or anything special, just some non-standard ones specifically for LaTeX.

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I'm guessing you're working with a pdftex-based latex system. (The two other main TeX engines, luatex and xelatex, use a completely different system of accessing fonts on the system.) I further take it from your description that various types of grants are associated with various types of font access rights, i.e., not every grant holder is allowed to use all of the fonts on the system. In addition, I also assume you're on some kind of unix-based operating system.

If your system is indeed unix-based, why don't you just define various "groups" with different read-access rights to various fonts, and then assign your grant holders into various groups depending on the font access rights they're supposed to have. Put differently, let the operating system do the heavy-duty work of maintaining and supervising access to the fonts.

Finally, if the fonts in question aren't distributed by default with whatever TeX distribution you have but are purchased separately, it would be a good idea to store the fonts somewhere in the LOCALTEXMF directory tree rather than in the main TeX distribution. That way, updates to the main TeX distribution won't affect the fonts, and vice versa. Happy TeXing!

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Sorry, I was probably not very clear. Yes, it is a pdftex-based system (using pdftex on Macs, for the most part). By "grants", I meant grant proposals to NSF, etc. There are no permission issues to be concerned with, my real concern is actually getting the documents to use the fonts in those directories, rather than loading them onto the local texmf directory tree. Multiple users will use pull them down on multiple machines, so the primary problem is portability. I am trying to avoid having my group use MS Word!!! –  Zach Oct 4 '11 at 21:57
In that case, why don't you just store the fonts below either /usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf-dist/fonts/... or /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/fonts/... (the local tree), and everyone will have access to the fonts. The "local" in "local tree" just means that its contents are local to the system, not local to one user at a time. –  Mico Oct 4 '11 at 23:09
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