I'm currently writing my PhD thesis and was wondering if perhaps, the Bembo font was available in LaTeX?

What package should I load? (I obviously tried \usepackage{bembo} already but the sty is missing.)

The Bembo font is used by the Everyman's Library editions and I find it to be beautiful and comfortable for reading.

Is this font, or maybe a really close equivalent available for LaTeX. Also, my PhD is in the Mechanics field, so there is a large number of equations. Will there be problems (incompatibilities) with these fonts?

Any hints are appreciated, thanks.

  • Do you have the font installed on your computer? What kind of licence is does the font come with?
    – jon
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 21:09
  • Bembo can only be used with xelatex or lualatex
    – user2478
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 21:09
  • @jon I actually don't have the font installed, or at least I can't seem to find it...
    – Meclassic
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 21:10
  • @Herbert: I remember seeing documents typeset in Bembo with latex long before xetex was around. So isn't it more the case that it's much more difficult/expensive to have Bembo without xetex or luatex Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 21:15
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    I typeset books/documents with Bembo, New Aster or Garamond (for example) long before XeTeX and LuaTeX were available, and even without pdfTeX. As dvips supports Type1 fonts, that has been indeed feasible and done for many years. Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 13:22

8 Answers 8


Try fbb:

Derived from Cardo, provides a Bembo-like font family in otf and pfb format plus LaTeX font support files.

It's as simple as \usepackage{fbb} in recent TeX Live.

  • 2
    Just as remark: Is already included respectively can be installed with the Package Manager (both TL & MiKTeX).
    – Speravir
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 3:25
  • This is the best answer: fbb is a version of Cardo, which is directly derived from Bembo, and has been specifically tailored for LaTeX use and is packaged with the TeXLive distribution. Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 21:19
  • The fbb font (Free Bembo) and the somewhat similar etbb font (ET Bembo) might not be what you want. These fonts have over-size glyphs, and thus are metrically very differnt from the commercial Bembo font and its imitators. You would need to carefully adjust font size, and also beware of lines that are closely spaced vertically (especially if with diacritical marks on uppercase).
    – user287367
    Commented Jan 10 at 2:14

If the reason you'd like to use Bembo is your personal preference for »Renaissance« or »Humanist« typefaces, i.e. ones that bring across the aesthetics of the 1400s and 1500s -- there's two typefaces you should have a look at:

(1) the various digital renditions of Hermann Zapf's Palatino that are around, and (2) Robert Slimbach's Minion. Depending on how you look at a typeface (what aspects you're sensitive to), they may or may not be »close equivalents« to Bembo.

But since you seem to have to deal with a lot of math in your typesetting, your choices are somewhat limited anyways. I'd say the two fonts that best meet your three main requirements, that is

  • share Bembo's look, to some degree
  • be prepared to be used for math purposes (this is highly non-trivial)
  • be readily available at no $$$ (right?)

are (1) TeX Gyre Pagella, which is a rendition of Palatino, ready to be used in *TeX, and equipped with math capabilities (math experts, feel free to correct me) -- and (2) Minion Pro, in OpenType format, of which eight cuts come as a give-away with Adobe's Reader.

This is how, as a non-Xe or Lua user, you would invoke the Pagella font:


This is what Minion looks like (middle). I like it a lot more than Palatino, but that's personal taste I guess. It is, obviously, also closer to Bembo than Palatino is. There's the famous minionpro package which helps getting the font ready for use in pdfTeX. Plus there's the mnsymbol package to provice math symbols that go along better with a Renaissance face like Minion than do the standard symbols designed for the Classicist Computer Modern face.


For $108 by the way, you can license Bembo Book, (Regular, Regular Small Caps, Italic -- you wouldnt want to use a Bold with a 1400s typeface). If you really like Bembo and are looking for a professionally-crafted font that's versatile enough to be used in your life after the PhD, this might be something for you.

  • Thanks for the information! Although I think that the Minion option seems to be really appropriate for someone that wants Bembo but does not want to buy it. In my case, I finally got a hold of a complete Bembo typeface (we have a global license for Adobe products at work and the webmaster kindly updated my workstation's fonts). Only problem, I can't get it to work with LuaLatex, but that's another story. Thank you anyway, I tested your proposition and it works great!
    – Meclassic
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 13:54
  • It's very easy. In the firs time,you must install bembo in your computer. After, you will use it. In Mac computer, the name is {bembo std} Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 14:09
  • @jpayansomet I actually tried using bembo std, but it doesn't works... Also I checked the list of fonts generated by luaotfload and bembo doesn't appears anywhere...
    – Meclassic
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 14:13
  • 4
    I am surprised you omitted Garamond. Humanist typeface with math support in TeX --> \usepackage[garamond]{mathdesign}.
    – mafp
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 14:56
  • 4
    @mafp In fact, there is a package which has better text support: \usepackage{garamondx}. It's similar to Bembo and if you want math support, you can use \usepackage[garamond]{mathdesign} before.
    – Manuel
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 15:11

You may also want to consider the Cardo font, which may be downloaded free of charge. Its name is a contraction of the words "Card[inal Bemb]o"; Cardinal Bembo in the late 1490s commissioned and financed the publication of a book (entitled "De Aetna") printed by Aldus Manutius. The font face used for that book has come to be known simply as "Bembo". This font face has long been very highly regarded and celebrated for its design and overall readability. There have been many copies -- starting in the early 16th century, some more faithful to the original than others -- of Aldus Manutius' "Bembo" font face. Cardo is regarded as one of the more faithful copies of the "orginal Bembo" font face.

Cardo is an Opentype font, and its user guide describes it as a "font for scholars", i.e., a font that features lots and lots of glyphs. Moreover, in addition to the standard-weight upright font, it also features bold and italic font faces (but no bold&italic font face). Scroll to the bottom of the page indicated in the link above to find the link to the zip file that contains the three font files.

  • 1
    nice to see Cardo Italic has been released for good (I had given up 3 or 4 years ago). But I can't seem to find a download link for the OpenType version -- even though that version is mentioned a few times on that page :(
    – Nils L
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 17:43
  • @NilsL - you need to scroll to close to the bottom of the webpage. Look for the header line "HOW TO DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL" -- the link to the zip file cardo104.zip is just below that header. Upon unzipping the file, you'll find three font files in the directory cardo104.
    – Mico
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 17:45
  • I know -- downloading the TrueType version isn't a problem. Finding the .OTFs is ...but maybe the .TTFs are actually OpenType fonts in disguise. Will give it a closer look.
    – Nils L
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 18:02
  • @Mico Thanks for the hint! Although I already gave Cardo a try... Don't get me wrong, I love the font, it's just that I don't know why it looks really medievalist (it's all really subjective in reality), and looks somewhat incompatible with the whole bunch of equations I'm throwing. Unfortunately I can't get myself to prefer it to the Bembo from Adobe (when combined with equations).
    – Meclassic
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 18:25
  • 3
    @NilsL I can confirm that the TTFs from Cardo are in fact OTFs in disguise, at least my computer says so. What's more, when compiling Cardo with LuaLaTeX I get absolutely zero problems, which is not the case with real TTFs that absolutely refuse to work!
    – Meclassic
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 18:27

You can use it , if you have it, with xelatex or lualatex.

\setmainfont{Bembo Std}

Hello world
  • I feel like an idiot but, what do you mean by "if you have it"? Do you mean I must first download it or something? Is it that difficult to find it?
    – Meclassic
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 21:13
  • 1
    @jrojasqu: Bembo is not free, so it may not be already on your machine and you may need to pay to have it on your machine. Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 21:13
  • @MatthewLeingang Oh... didn't know that... thanks for the info...
    – Meclassic
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 21:14
  • @jrojasqu By the way, Bembo Book is more appropriate if you are going to print it.
    – Manuel
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 21:49
  • 1
    And also there is Cardo, which is a free copy (not bold/italic, if I remember well, but may be it works).
    – Manuel
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 0:46

Try "EB Garamond". You can download free as a Google Web font. In spite of its name saying Garamond in the title it is almost a prefect clone of Bembo. See this font sample (with typo "EB Garomond"): http://joelcrawfordsmith.com/new/font/bembo (I had to find it for a client recently).

  • Welcome to TeX.sx! Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 13:20
  • 2
    It is actually much better: There is already a LaTeX package ebgaramond containing font files in Type1 and Opentype.
    – Speravir
    Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 15:04
  • 1
    It is a great font - I personally prefer it to Bembo, but for the particularly picky, (as evidenced in the link provided), it is not quite "almost a perfect clone" as suggested here Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 2:55

In addition to Andy's answer:

  • A great advantage of fbb over Cardo is that it has kerning tables.

  • fbb is just as easily used with LuaLaTeX; just install the package and write



Its OpenType features can be inspected with fontforge.

Alternatively, Edward Tufte has kindly made the version of Bembo designed for his books available in TrueType format on github, under an MIT licence. It has been renamed ET Book to avoid conflicts: https://github.com/edwardtufte/et-book


There is a free font almost identical to Bembo: Bergamo. Also consider Crimson, along the lines of Minion, Sabon and Garamond.

  • 1
    The link says the font costs money.
    – JPi
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 11:54
  • But (today at least, like the previous comment), the Regular, Bold, Italic and Bold Italic are free. (But I agree with another commenter on this page that Bembo and bold do not go together well.) Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 14:49

And then there is ETbb by the same Michael Sharpe who made fbb earlier. He writes that he believes ETbb is closer in appearance to Edward Tufte's font usage in his books than fbb. In the documentation, he gives a detailed suggestion for what math font would go well with ETbb.

  • 1
    What a nice discovery!
    – Keks Dose
    Commented Jan 10 at 10:44

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