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Some TeX packages benefit from the acquisition of specific fonts for best results. For example, mathdesign lacks small caps for Bitstream Charter, but supports an "expert" option that makes use of Windows Postscript version of these, that requires ownership of the relevant font. These formats are, however, generally available as parts of expensive comprehensive bundles.

Are there resources for TeX users that provide a way to purchase the specific font features "missing" from popular TeX packages, without having to purchase expensive bundles?

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There's nothing specific to TeX, but many of the foundries provide tools for identifying fonts in specific formats and with specific features.

FontShop, for example, clearly indicates what formats are available for each typeface, and provides tools for testing specific features in any displayed list of fonts . For example, attempting to display small caps in the following example, reveals that the selected typefaces do not support them, while the small format icons indicate the formats available:

FontShop example

MyFonts also indicates all the features supported by a typeface (using the icons at the bottom in the example below) and the format of the font (the icon next to the font name):

enter image description here

Both sites provide numerous resources for examining the character set and experimenting with different sample text. And there are many other similar sites with similar features.

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Remember that if the goal is to use a font with mathdesign, you must acquire the Windows PostScript version (even if you are using a Mac). –  raxacoricofallapatorius Mar 12 '12 at 17:48

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