Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

Recently my struggle to find out some handwritten fonts for some document led me to this question.

What are the various packages that give nice looking handwritten and / or calligraphic fonts?

I know that the experts here will come out with all possible list. The idea here is to make this a reference for people like me who search for fonts like this (I have struggled, let others not). I will add an entry here:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{frcursive}
\usepackage{calligra}
\newcommand{\setfont}[2]{{\fontfamily{#1}\selectfont #2}}
\begin{document}
\setfont{frc}{This is frcursive font.}\\
\setfont{calligra}{This is Calligra font.}
\end{document}


I request experts to kindly add all possible details on various such free fonts to be served as a reference for people like me please.

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I think that clearly differentiating between free and non-free fonts would also be valuable (including details, like "free for non-commerical use" etc.). Could you add this to your question? – mbork Mar 14 '12 at 11:37
I don't quite see the point of this question since there already is tug.dk/FontCatalogue/calligraphicalfonts.html. If this list is missing any fonts, tell the maintainer, who is very responsive. I don't think the work needs to be done twice. – doncherry Mar 14 '12 at 13:11
@doncherry: thanks, I didn't know that! – mbork Mar 14 '12 at 13:15
@doncherry All the fonts in the link you mentioned are not free it seems. I meant free fonts. – Harish Kumar Mar 14 '12 at 14:57
@mbork Thanks for the comment. I added it in the edit. It is actually free fonts. – Harish Kumar Mar 14 '12 at 14:58

All this information is right there on The LaTeX Font Catalogue: Calligraphical and Handwritten fonts. For every font, there is an explanation how to use it. Hence, I don't think we need to maintain a list of such fonts here because there already is an excellent database with a maintainer who'll gladly accept your suggestions for improvement.

As for the question about the fonts being "free", About The LaTeX Font Catalogue says:

The license of the fonts vary, but are all free. Note that the fonts not necessarily are free to distribute, and some fonts are available for non-commercial use only.

Anyways, here's how you could use the four fonts that come first alphabetically, i.e. the ones that I mentioned in my comment. I'm using MiKTeX 2.9 with on-the-fly installation enabled. You might have to call updmap after installing a font. If a specific font doesn't work, feel free to ask a new question about it.

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{emerald}% 1
\usepackage{aurical}% 2
\usepackage{pbsi}% 3
\usepackage{calligra}% 4

\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}

\usepackage{lipsum}% for filler text

\begin{document}

\section{Augie} {\ECFAugie\lipsum[4]}
\section{Auriocus Kalligraphicus} {\Fontauri\lipsum[4]}
\section{BrushScriptX-Italic} {\bsifamily\lipsum[4]}
\section{Calligra} {\calligra\lipsum[4]}

\end{document}


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Thank you very much. Please come down the list in that link a bit. For some fonts Type 1 is not available. For example Vereinfachten Ausgangsschrift, TW Cal 14,Vicentino to name a few. Are you able to use them? If so pl. educate me how. If you want I can post a separate question for that. Otherwise, that list is good and I am already aware of that list. Thank you for your time. – Harish Kumar Mar 14 '12 at 15:49
The fonts you're listing are not included in MiKTeX, as you can see at ctan.org/pkg/twcal etc., so you'll have to install them manually. tex.stackexchange.com/q/2063/4012 will get you started. If you run into trouble, ask a question and I'm sure Ulrike Fischer, the MiKTeX font expert, will be right there :). – doncherry Mar 14 '12 at 16:05
@doncherry Did you know something about Cyrillic T2A hand written fonts? – sergiokapone Dec 19 '14 at 8:49
@sergiokapone No, unfortunately not. On the Font Catalogue, it says “As my knowledge on Greek, Cyrillic, and other alphabets is very little, I have only included fonts providing the Latin alphabet.”. If there is no question about such fonts here, you’re more than welcome to ask one! – doncherry Dec 19 '14 at 23:03

If you really want to dive into using a variety of fonts with LaTeX, I strongly recommend you use the awesome fontspec package in combination with either XeTeX or LuaTeX. fontspec allows you to select any open type font (OTF) that you have installed on your machine using a command like:

\newfontfamily{\Segoe}{Segoe Script}


You can find lots of handwriting or calligraphy fonts on sites like FontSquirrel, e.g. here or here.

I also recommend you check out the documentation of the fontspec package because it demonstrates advanced uses of open type features (e.g. stylistic variants), especially with the Zapfino font.

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If you're curious about Zapfino, you may find my paper for TUG2003 of interest: tug.org/TUGboat/tb24-2/tb77adams.pdf – WillAdams Feb 5 '15 at 18:37

There exists a handwritten font which realizes the exactly connecting letters without compromises. This is the font slabikar generated by Metafont, see the article about it.

This font is called slabikar because this is handwritten font used for pupils in the first class when they are learning to read and write in Czech republic. The slabikar is typical first textbook for the pupils.

I have made this font 20 years before and I am unable to find the similar principles in any other handwritten font. Only Metafont is able to do it because it implements generalized ligatures. These ligatures inserts the fragments between letters and at the boundary of the words automatically, so the connection between letters can be absolutely smooth. See the word "rozvažte", which can be written normally as rozvažte in the TeX source but the output automatically adds the special fragments before the word, after the word and between letters:

Note the final little fragment (for example) which ensures that the stoke of the word ends exactly at the ex height.

There are many variants of letters automatically chosen for various connections, see the letter s:

This is very good advertisement for TeX because none another typesetting system is able to deal with generalized ligatures. Some professionals tried to convert this font slabikar to the OTF using OTF features but without success so far. But TeX is able to do it 30 yers.

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Many thanks wipet. Can you please add a MWE about how to use these fonts. It will be useful to us :-). – Harish Kumar Feb 5 '15 at 12:33
The minimal example is at the first page of the mentioned article. Or it can be: \font\pis=slabikar at1cm {\pis Some text}\bye. – wipet Feb 5 '15 at 12:46
Thank you... :-) – Harish Kumar Feb 5 '15 at 12:48
I hope that this example is only a demonstration of TeX power. IMHO it is less usable in another countries because font for pupils looks very different in different languages... – wipet Feb 5 '15 at 12:53
Congrats for the bounty! I wish one day I could know as much TeX as you do. :) – Paulo Cereda Feb 8 '15 at 19:04

Google Web Fonts has a good number of handwriting fonts (I see 99 families so far, when selecting only the “Handwriting” filter). All are freely licensed and can be downloaded from the Google Code Project to be used with desktop applications (despite the name, they are regular fonts). They can of course be used out of box with XeTeX and LuaTeX, but with some effort you can istall them for PDFTeX as well (following the general TrueType and OpenType installation methods).

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One font that is good for such applications is the zapf chancery. Here is an example adapted from the link to work as a minimal:

\documentclass[danish,a4paper,11pt]{scrartcl}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{babel,lipsum}
\usepackage{slantsc}
\usepackage{array}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\setkomafont{subsection}{\usefont{T1}{fvm}{m}{n}}
\setkomafont{section}{\usefont{T1}{fvs}{b}{n}\Large}
\setcounter{secnumdepth}{0}
\pagestyle{empty}
\usepackage{chancery}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}

\begin{document}
\section*{Zapf Chancery}
\subsection*{\textbackslash rmfamily}
\normalfont\rmfamily
\lipsum[1]
\subsection*{\textbackslash itshape}
\normalfont\itshape
\lipsum[2]
\end{document}


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I think you should indicate that it wasn't you who wrote this example, even though it's pretty simple. Even better, write one up that doesn't include stuff that's not needed just to use Zapf Chancery. – doncherry Mar 14 '12 at 15:44

A good starting point is, as already stated, the google font catalog.

One nice site to download commercial free fonts is fontsquirrel.com. Font quality is here in general good.

The open font library provides a small amount of commercial free and open source fonts.

Another site is dafont.com. Fonts are not always commercial free, though. Quality varies.

Fontspace.com has a huge array of fonts. Quality varies.

Fontspace has as well useful links to other free font sites:

• On snot and fonts, which is somewhat confusing
• 1001freefonts. Fonts are mostly non-commercial free. Similar to dafont
• Free-fonts. Quality is sometimes dubious and licenses are unclear. Has no font catalog as such

Urbanfonts advertises freeware fonts, but specifies that «[s]ome fonts provided are trial versions of full versions and may not allow embedding unless a commercial license is purchased or may contain a limited character set».

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