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Is there a sans-serif font that appears different for I and l? If we are not familiar with "Kim Jong Il", we might spell his name as Kim Jong Two or other incorrect ones.

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Most sans-serif fonts have I and l glyphs that look different. Usually, the lowercase l (surprisingly?) is taller than the uppercase I. Separately, the letters may be easy to confuse, but when combined, as in ‘Kim Jong Il’, it’s usually no problem to distinguish them. – Karl Ove Hufthammer Dec 29 '11 at 9:57
@KarlOveHufthammer: I believe that most people cannot notice that l is taller than I even in "Kim Jong Il" (if it is read at a glance). Thanks anyway. – kiss my armpit Dec 29 '11 at 10:16
Many sans serif fonts have tilted lower part of lower case l, e.g. Canatrell. – Khaled Hosny Dec 29 '11 at 14:00
up vote 14 down vote accepted

From the LaTeX2e Font Catalogue: Sans Serif Fonts, there is venturis:

enter image description here

\usepackage[lf]{venturis} %% lf option gives lining figures as default; 
              %% remove option to get oldstyle figures as default
\renewcommand*\familydefault{\sfdefault} %% Only if the base font of the document is to be sans serif
Kim Jong Il
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Not sure I would call this sans-serif. Maybe peu de serif. – Andreas Dec 12 '12 at 20:36

Some examples for fonts in T1 font-encoding

Found in a full MiKTeX installation, but also in my (portable) TeX Live installation:

font test result: fonts with good distinction between I and l



\newcommand*{\test}{W. H. Gates III. | Ill Bill}
\newcommand*{\testfont}[2]{#1: \textsf{\fontfamily{#2}\selectfont\test}}









- * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -


\testfont{MS Trebuchet}{trebuchet}



If used alone or with their family companions, most of them are called with a \usepackage command. For the three fonts below the starred line one needs to manually install the winfonts package.

Just for comparison some fonts with no or only a little distinction between big i and small L:

font test result: fonts with no or slight distinction between I and l

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A true sans-serif font might opt to add a finial to the lower case L, such as

DIN 1451 Mittelschrift example

With the usual caveat involved in using truetype fonts in LaTeX.

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What about the new Source Sans Pro by Adobe? enter image description here

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Yes, I’ve forgotten (but I wrote “examples”). – Speravir Dec 13 '12 at 16:33

Besides choosing fonts to be used in the document itself, it is also helpful to have a good font for doing the editing work. There it is equally helpful to be able to distinguish characters like o O 0 Q and l I | easily. My recommendation is neither free nor cheap but after switching editing fonts for some time I have setteled with PragmataPro.

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Another fine choice is the Raleway font, which is available in a recent TeXlive via \usepackage{raleway}. It is interoperable with pdftex, but also with the new Unicode engines xetex and luatex.

W. H. Gates III. | Ill Bill

enter image description here

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Segoe UI works as well. I don't know if this font is commonly available. I think it's what my Outlook uses for the calendar, folders, etc.

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I like Tahoma and Verdana because they have serifs on the capital I, but the rest of the characters are sans-serif.

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