TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm using texlive 2010, and I'm trying to design the layout for a document in plain tex (because I need the document and also I want to learn tex). The input is the following




\hrule height1mm
\vskip 2mm

{\fifteenrm \noindent Chapter 1}
\vskip 18mm

{\eighteenbf \noindent Analysis I}
\vskip 35mm

{\twelvebf \noindent This is the title}\par

Here is some text...


the cmr15, cmbx18, and cmbx12 are font files that tex reads and loads but I didn't understand where are those files actually in the system. I looked in the log and found some hints. The log is the following

This is pdfTeX, Version 3.1415926-1.40.11 (Web2C 2010) (format=pdftex 2011.2.24)  24 APR 2012 12:12
entering extended mode
 restricted \write18 enabled.
 %&-line parsing enabled.
(./Book.tex [1{c:/texlive/2010/texmf-var/fonts/map/pdftex/updmap/pdftex.map}] )
00pk> <c:/Users/Felipe/.texlive2010/texmf-var/fonts/pk/ljfour/public/sauter/cmr
Output written on Book.pdf (1 page, 32853 bytes).
PDF statistics:
 40 PDF objects out of 1000 (max. 8388607)
 18 compressed objects within 1 object stream
 0 named destinations out of 1000 (max. 500000)
 1 words of extra memory for PDF output out of 10000 (max. 10000000)

My question is why is tex looking in two different paths (one is c:/Users/Felipe/... and the other is c:/texlive/2010/...) and how does tex know where it has to search to find an specific font (e.g. cmbx18)?

share|improve this question
cmbx18 and cmr15 aren't "standard" sizes. the font files are bitmapped in pk files which were compiled from a formula provided by a custom package by john sauter, quite possibly on your own system. the cmbx12 and cmr10 fonts, on the other hand, are "standard", and are provided in tex live in type 1 form as .pfb files. the bitmapped fonts may not fare so well when output on a device other than one that has exactly 600dpi resolution. the type 1 (outline) fonts will scale smoothly to almost any resolution. – barbara beeton Apr 24 '12 at 17:52
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The original Computer Modern Roman fonts in upright shape (cmr) are designed only at sizes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 17.

However the TeX Live system is able to produce on demand other sizes based on the interpolation scripts by John Sauter. So when you ask for cmr18, the system runs the script and the font is created (a .tfm file and a bitmap for the rendering on screen an on print, the .600pk file).

It would be probably better to ask for

\font\fifteenrm=cmr12 at 15pt

which will scale cmr12 and you'll get a Type1 font for rendering. Similarly for cmbx, which is available at the maximum size of 12pt (in the original form).

share|improve this answer
How can I know what are the maximum sizes for each kind of font (roman, bold, italic, etc)? – Felipe Apr 24 '12 at 18:00
@Felipe Look in /usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf-dist/fonts/source/public/cm/ – egreg Apr 24 '12 at 18:04
@egreg: Can we use it to get a fractional size, say 10.5pt? – Harish Kumar Apr 24 '12 at 23:45
@HarishKumar With the Sauter fonts, yes, but a bitmap font will be used for rendering. – egreg Apr 25 '12 at 7:43
@egreg: Thanks. – Harish Kumar Apr 25 '12 at 8:07

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.