I have a problem with bad font quality that only affects "math" environments.

I am writing a document with lyx 2.0.2 (OS: Ubuntu). The chosen class is "report". Since the normally used fonts were looking bad in the PDF output, I changed them to the following settings:

Roman: Bitstream Charter / Sans Serif: Helvetica (92%) / Typewriter: Courier

The general text looks great now, but the math text is very thin and bad to read.

My best guess was that Bistream Charter has no math font and it is replaced by some standard lyx font that looks bad but I couldn't find any working solution that only fixes the math font quality without messing up the general text font (e.g. I tried \usepackage{mathptmx} that did exactly that).

Can anybody help?

  • Welcome to TeX.SX. Usually, we don't put a greeting or a "thank you" in our posts. While this might seem strange at first, it is not a sign of lack of politeness, but rather part of our trying to keep everything very concise. Accepting and upvoting answers is the preferred way here to say "thank you" to users who helped you. Apr 22, 2013 at 18:48
  • 1
    Bitstream Charter in LaTeX is loaded by \usepackage[charter]{mathdesign}. Note that the maths fonts provided by this package have some serious design issues such as poor kerning in maths mode (especially around the f), poorly designed blackboard bold letters (especially M) and \middle vertical bars are too high. All in all, I would recommend Bitstream Charter only for text with the most trivial of maths in it. The text font does look pretty good on screen though.
    – kahen
    Apr 22, 2013 at 19:03
  • Is there no way of changing the math font only? So I could keep the Bitstream Charter for the text? Because all other Roman fonts in the lyx font list didn't look good in my pdf output.
    – jun
    Apr 22, 2013 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


See the following sections of what's new in LyX 2.1:

TeX Fonts Additions

Furthermore, LyX now has a dedicated math font selection,
where you can prevent some fonts (such as Times and Palatino)
to automatically change the math font, and you can select
a dedicated math fonts. Currently the following math fonts
are supported:

Euler (via eulervm)
Iwona Math
Kurier Math
Libertine (via newtxmath)
MinionPro (via newtxmath)
Times Roman (via newtxmath)
URW Garamond (via newtxmath)

Basic support for Math OpenType fonts

LyX now has very basic support for the
unicode-math package, which allows the use of
OpenType fonts for math (similar to the non-TeX
text fonts LyX already supports). Currently, the
actual fonts still have to be loaded manually in
the preamble (if you do not want to use the
default, i.e. Latin Modern Math), but it is
planned to provide a selection of fonts in the
math font combo box.

Unfortunately, LyX 2.1 is not yet released. But it is in a pretty stable condition now. Since you're on Ubuntu, you can easily use the latest development version (this does not mess up your current LyX install because it uses a 2.1 suffix). Install lyx2.1 from the daily PPA as described here.

  • 1
    Thanks! That is good news that the next version of LyX will support math font selection. But still, as far as I understand, LyX is basicly providing "GUI" support for what LaTeX already can do. So does anybody happen to know a "LaTeX-way" of solving this issue?
    – jun
    Apr 22, 2013 at 21:36
  • You understand correctly. This is really all that LyX ever does. I guess that's not completely a fair statement because LyX can deal with converters and version control and track changes. But essentially if LyX can output something to PDF, then it's only because LaTeX helps it do that.
    – scottkosty
    Apr 22, 2013 at 23:30
  • @jun if you don't want to use LyX 2.1 permanently, just do it and then export to LaTeX or view source to see how it was done. Then copy the preamble over and use ERT if you need to. It takes 3 minutes to install LyX 2.1 from the PPA and it will not mess anything up that you currently have. This way you can answer your own question of how to do it in LaTeX.
    – scottkosty
    Apr 23, 2013 at 4:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .