\sfshape seem to work. So what is the command I'm looking for to change the current group to sans serif?
\itshape work, but I can't find the sans serif command to do the same thing...
The command you want is
The commands, in order, activate medium weight, boldface, upright, italic, small caps, slanted, roman (serif), sans serif, and typewriter text (monospaced). To form the
Although this question is quite old (only found it because lockstep reactivated it) it’s maybe worth to add this information.
For my lectures on LaTeX I use the following image to explain the way LaTeX categorizes the different characteristics of printed material.
The first thing to select is how the font is encoded in it’s file(s), that means which character is on which position. The font encoding (in
This has nothing to do with the appearance of single letters.
2a. Typeface and 2b. Family
Here LaTeX doens’t differentiate too much. The Typeface (2a) is the “font” like Computer Modern Roman, Times New Roman or Helvetica, for instance. The typeface is usually (in
to load the Latin Modern fonts (a list of many font packages can be found in The LaTeX Font Catalouge). And here the problem starts:
3a. Series and 3b. Shape
On the next level you can select a series (3a, also known as weight) and/or a shape (3b). The different series share the same characteristics but differ in the stroke width. Normally LaTeX uses only two series but there are typefaces with up to ten or more different weights.
for the sans serif family.
In general you can combine the series with any shapes, but not all typefaces contain all possible combinations, for example bold italic small caps are extremely rarely to find. It is possible to combine several shapes too but not two different series. In LaTeX you can select out of the following ones
Please note that italic and slanted are not the same in any case. Especially serif families normally (hopefully) have a real italic shape that even has different letter forms, e.g. the letter
I won’t show any theoretically possible combination since the Latin Modern typefaces don’t support all of them, as you can see the sans serif not even has a small caps shape. In this regard I’d like to highly recommend you not to fake small caps by using scaled uppercase letters. When you scale the uppercase letters you will also scale the stroke width and then the faked small caps won’t match with the upper case letters.
Sure it is worth a discussion if the size should be at the lowest level or it should be the second one right under the encoding but I choose to place it at the lowest level.
The obvious part of this level is the width and height of the letters, which can be selected with the switches
These font sizes are relative and depend on the selected value for the regular text, which is done with a class option like
Beside this obvious sizes there is a thing called optical size which means that the letter forms for tiny sizes are quite different from the ones of a huge size.
The last line shows a text set with
Fortunately LaTeX is smart enough to find the right optical size for the current size of the letters — unfortunately only few typefaces come with different optical sizes.
Font switch vs. Text command
As you can see above, some characteristics can be changed by two macros, like
Why not use