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I'm trying to use the "Sawasdee" font in a beamer poster (installed as a TrueType font from fonts-tlwg-sawasdee ubuntu package). I can activate it in a regular (scractl) document by using \usepackage{fontspec} and \setmainfont{Sawasdee}, and compiling with lualatex. However, when I try these commands within the beamerposter document class, the font does not change. I looked at this post: Setting Font attributes in Beamer, but I could not relate the instructions to using this font, which is a TrueType font separate from LaTeX (correct me if this does not make sense). So how can I force beamerposter to use this system font?

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Since Beamer uses the sffamily by default, you may need to use \setsansfont{Sawasdee} or if you use \setmainfont you need to use \usefonttheme{serif}. See How do I set the default beamer font to Computer Modern serif –  Alan Munn Dec 11 '12 at 4:32
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Beamer uses \sffamily (sans serif) fonts by default, but \setmainfont in fontspec only sets the \rmfamily font. So there are two ways to solve this problem, you can set the sans font to Sawasdee using

\setsansfont{Sawasdee}

or you can set the main font to Sawasdee and tell Beamer to use a serifed font theme:

\setmainfont{Sawasdee}
\usefonttheme{serif}

Since the Latin characters of the Sawasdee font are in fact sans serif, the first solution is to be preferred (and it's one less line of code, too).

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