So I have really become intrigued with the Cow font of context, however I really wish I would be able to use this with latex. I found a place, where it listed the steps on what to do, but it was rather vague on how one would actually do these steps. The steps where:

it "just" requires that you grab the stuff in cont-tmf.zip and put it in a texmf-local sort of tree, texhash, and then updmap-sys --Enable Map koeieletters.map (link)

Can anybody explain to me what I actually need to do to get this installed, such that I can use it with latex? I have located the con-tmf.zip file on my computer.

  • could you be more precise about the engine you want to use the fonts with? Your tags have ›context‹; the question you're referring to pertains to ›pdflatex‹; and your title has ›latex‹. I'm assuming it's good old pdflatex, but in that case I'd re-tag the question.
    – Nils L
    May 22, 2013 at 8:58
  • It's for use with pdflatex :) May 22, 2013 at 10:36
  • Out of interest could anyone using this font get the logo ligatures to work ? For instance from the "Cow font of Context" link above, there is a section describing that "TeX", "MP" and "ConTeXt" have predefined ligatures and should render differently, I was wondering if anyone got this to work.
    – Carel
    Jul 10, 2016 at 13:15

3 Answers 3


I installed them by running

tlmgr install cowfont --repository http://tlcontrib.metatex.org/2012

...which gave me:

tlmgr: package repository http://tlcontrib.metatex.org/2012
[1/1, ??:??/??:??] install: cowfont [656k]
tlmgr: package log updated at d:/programs/texlive/texmf-var/web2c/tlmgr.log
running mktexlsr ...
done running mktexlsr.
running updmap-sys ...

updmap-sys failed (status 1), output:
updmap is using the following updmap.cfg files (in precedence order):
updmap is using the following updmap.cfg file for writing changes:
dvips output dir: "d:/programs/texlive/texmf-var/fonts/map/dvips/updmap"
pdftex output dir: "d:/programs/texlive/texmf-var/fonts/map/pdftex/updmap"
dvipdfmx output dir: "d:/programs/texlive/texmf-var/fonts/map/dvipdfmx/updmap"
pxdvi output dir: "d:/programs/texlive/texmf-var/fonts/map/pxdvi/updmap"

ERROR:  The following map file(s) couldn't be found:
        koeieletters.map (in d:/programs/texlive/texmf-dist/web2c/updmap.cfg)

        Did you run mktexlsr?

        You can disable non-existent map entries using the option

so that package doesn't seem to include the .map file, so I got it from here and after another texhash, re-ran the part that had failed:

updmap-sys --Enable Map koeieletters.map

update: As the package doesn't contain any .sty or .fd files (yet), we have to do the necessary definitions ourselves:


\DeclareFontShape{T1}{CowFont}{m}{n}{<-> koeieletters}{}

stop stealing sheep

enter image description here

  • 4
    the family is defined by a .fd file, which in your case you have not got. shall i submit my little koeie.sty and koeie.fd to ctan? May 22, 2013 at 10:25
  • that's right, there's no fd files in that package either. I don't think I'll become a passionate cowfont user, but I'm sure some people will appreciate your .sty and .fd files...
    – Nils L
    May 22, 2013 at 10:51
  • The cowsay macro \newcommand{\cowsay}[1]{{\usefont{T1}{CowFont}{m}{n} #1}} is rather usefull.
    – Carel
    Jun 22, 2016 at 8:37

I tried Nils solution with an TeXLive 2015 installation and I failed:

tlmgr.pl: The TeX Live versions supported by the repository
do not include the version of the local installation

I found no actual repository with cowfont, but I found another solution:

  1. Download the source from http://tlcontrib.metatex.org/2012/archive/cowfont.tar.xz
  2. Call tlmgr install --file cowfont.tar.xz in the directory of the download.
  3. That's it, you can use the font.
  4. Repeat the same procedure with http://tlcontrib.metatex.org/2012/archive/cowfont.doc.tar.xz

With Miktex 2.9 it is also possible to install the font. I managed to do so following the above instructions and using those in the link provided by @knut. If you are not the admin user on your system remove the --admin switches as necessary while following the instructions.

  1. Download and extract the cowfont.tar.xz archive (The URL from @knut's answer is now invalid) into EXTRACTED\.

  2. Remove the tlpkg folder it is not necessary.

  3. The subfolders named context should be renamed into the subfolders hoekwater\koeieletters. (I'm not sure this is entirely necessary)

  4. Now you should have a texmf compliant tree which you can copy into the miktex tree, copy EXTRACTED\fonts to miktex\root\ (For a default installation C:\program files\miktex2.9\)

  5. Then run initexmf --admin --edit-config-file updmap and add the following lines. The file name comes from the file EXTRACTED\fonts\map\pdftex\hoekwater\koeieletters\*.map. Once edited save the file, I did not have to change the default save location.

    # koeieletters
    Map koeieletters-2013.map
  6. Then run initexmf --admin -u followed by updmap and refresh your fndb as usual.

There are also these instructions which one has not yet tried.

Note : This post is a community wiki, please edit it as necessary.

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