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

Is there a workaround for the ugly backquote in the Arial font?

For example, running xelatex on the following:


Here's something ``quoted''.
share|improve this question
\setmainfont[Ligatures=TeX]{Arial} – egreg Aug 31 '12 at 9:36
@egreg: Oops, just saw this after I posted an answer. If you'd like to post, I'll delete mine – Brent.Longborough Aug 31 '12 at 9:42
@Brent.Longborough Don't worry: I wouldn't have added that capital final comment. :) – egreg Aug 31 '12 at 9:48

By default, fontspec doesn't activate the standard TeX quote ligatures, Try this:

Here's something ``quoted''.

Of course, some people might say that the 'ugly backquote' isn't the only thing about Arial that's ugly...

share|improve this answer
Hey, if you say something is ugly you must recommend something better looking so that we can make the world a better looking place! Any particular sans serif font one ought to use instead of Arial? – N.N. Aug 31 '12 at 10:26
@N.N. Well, if you insist on using sans serif for text, then perhaps Source Sans Pro, though beauty is in the eye of the beholder... – Brent.Longborough Aug 31 '12 at 10:30
The German typographer Paul Renner did typeset a whole book about typography in his own sans serif Futura which doesn't look bad at all (though a bit too geometric for my taste). – clemens Aug 31 '12 at 11:54
@cgnieder It really is a matter (mostly) of personal taste. My own feeling is that I've never seen a book set in sans-serif, however marvellous, that I haven't wondered 'I bet that would be even better in serif' – Brent.Longborough Aug 31 '12 at 13:16
I admit my own feeling is very similar. However, it suits Paul Renner's book really well. But I guess he would do it differently nowadays. The book is from 1939 and he was certainly influenced by the Bauhaus at the time. – clemens Aug 31 '12 at 13:24

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.