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I need to display some very small numbers in my document (3-5 pt). I want to test out all available fonts within my installation at this size, to find which produces the most readable numbers. Is there a simple way to produce this output (i.e. generate a document which contains a sample text displayed in all fonts at the specified size)??

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fonts available for latex ord lualatex/xelatex or both? – Herbert Nov 29 '11 at 11:43
I will award the bounty to an answer that works in XeTeX. When I first posted the question, I had not yet discovered XeTeX. – Village Nov 29 '11 at 12:41
You can get the font list with fc-list, see How to get a list of all available (TTF-) Fonts with XeTeX. – Marco Nov 29 '11 at 14:29
fc-list shows the open and true type fonts of the TeX system only with a special config file, eg the TeX Gyre fonts – Herbert Nov 29 '11 at 15:12
Is there a LaTeX (pdflatex) solution? – Nikos Alexandris Jul 5 '14 at 21:48
up vote 15 down vote accepted

The following ConTeXt/LuaTeX solution prints a pdf with all available fonts in the font size 4pt. Beware: It takes a long time to process and consumes lots of memory.

Edit: I replaced the ugly unix command dependency of cut with a lua solution.

\def\sample{Some Sample text\crlf}
\def\testfont#1{\definedfont[name:#1 at 4pt] #1: \sample}


\executesystemcommand {mtxrun --script fonts --list --all --pattern=* > \jobname.filelist}
    myfile = assert(io.open('\jobname.filelist', 'r'))
    for line in myfile:lines() do
        local first, second, third = line:match '(%S+)'
        if first~= nil then


This is a screenshot of the first few fonts:



Unfortunately there is no method for reading the database directly from within Lua (see: How do I get a list of all available fonts for luaotfload). You either have to use an external command or read in the database file (otlf-names.lua for LaTeX). Neither solution is optimal.

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Why do you say that there is no method of reading the database in lua? After all, mtx-fonts is a lua script, that uses fonts.name.load function defined in font-syn.lua to read the font database. In principle, you can just rewrite list_matches function of mtx-fonts to fit your needs. – Aditya Dec 2 '11 at 23:00
@Aditya I was referring to Khaled's comment to tex.stackexchange.com/q/14162/5245. I don't know of any way to read in the database without directly reading the database file or parsing external programs output. I'll have a look at the files you mentioned. Maybe I can come up with a better solution. Thanks for the pointers. – Marco Dec 3 '11 at 0:20
I'm trying to implement this code to create a font catalog of our available fonts. However, I have more than 6000 fonts available, and ConTeXt runs out of node memory very soon. I read here that there is no real way (or need) of increasing the node memory; that if you ran out of node memory is because your code is wrong. Is there any way of doing this over a big database of fonts (say, more than 5000 font files)? – El Andi Jul 22 '13 at 23:38
@ElAndi I just ran the code on a font library of about 5800 fonts and it seemed to work fine. Are you sure you're not just running out of memory? Loading the font cache consumed almost 18GiB of RAM here. – Marco Jul 23 '13 at 2:07
That's the thing, it seems. I "only" have 16 GiB... Will need to find a monster to compile this. No complains, tho. Good to see the limits. – El Andi Jul 23 '13 at 2:58

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