Sources for darker fonts for math fonts and AMS math symbols for PDF output via, say, dvipdfm.exe?

(1st response -- copied from by moderator)

Many thanks for the help.

I'm just using TeX and not LaTeX.

Yes, I should have said "heavier" fonts instead of "darker" fonts.

The fonts I am using are just the standard Computer Modern as in Knuth's 'The TeXBook' except occasionally I get a symbol from an AMS collection of symbols. I also occasionally make use of the Euler fonts from the AMS for math symbols.

My screen preview program is YAP, and it has an option to make the fonts on the screen heavier. That option saves me.

If Adobe's Acrobat had an option like that, then I would not have asked this question or be concerned about fonts.

For printing on paper, I use an old HP 4p 600 dot per inch laser printer: On paper, the characters ('glyphs'?) from TeX are reasonably heavy.

The main problem is that when using the program DVIPDFM.EXE to convert TeX dvi output to PDF, the characters are not heavy enough as displayed on my screen by Adobe's Acrobat reader. So, Acrobat could use a darker option like YAP has.

I looked at 'A Survey of Free Math Fonts for TeX and LaTeX' by Steven J. Hartke at


and on page 3 saw the footnote:

"When on screen, the fonts are usually anti-aliased, often into a gray blur because the stems are not thick enough to fill a pixel. When printed with a high-resolution laser printer, the fonts are shown accurately, but I think are too thin. With a medium-resolution printer like an inkjet, there’s enough resolution to show the form of the letters (unlike on screen), but the low-resolution "bulks up" the letters compared to a highresolution laser printer, with the letters thus appearing darker."

That paragraph explains well what I am seeing and the cause of the problem I'm trying to solve.

That is, my question was not really asking to change from the Computer Modern fonts in TeX but to change how these fonts are displayed when converted to PDF and viewed with Acrobat. That is, it would appear that I could just leave everything about TeX alone, get DVI files as at present, and just have DVIPDFM.EXE use slightly heavier Adobe Type 1 fonts for what TeX is using.

My TeX setup is ProTeX 1.2. I tried a more recent version, but it seemed to want to go directly to PDF and have me use Acrobat for screen preview instead of going to just to DVI and using YAP for screen preview. I would much rather use YAP for screen preview. So, after some days of struggle trying to make it work, I removed the later version of ProTeX and installed ProTeX 1.2 from the ZIP file I still had.

So, that's where I am: Just TeX, just the standard TeX fonts, just the old ProTeX 1.2, YAP for screen preview, fonts heavy enough when printed on paper, but as in Hartke's footnote fonts too light as the Adobe Type 1 versions are displayed on a computer screen with Adobe Acrobat.

Maybe a solution could be obtained just by adjusting some 'hints' or some such in the Adobe Type 1 definitions?

From Hartke's footnote, it appears that my problem is from common up to nearly universal: Any font will look lighter on a computer screen in Acrobat than on 600 dot per inch paper. So, there should be enough interest for a solution.

(2nd response -- copied from by moderator)

The responses were good and showed a lot of effort.

It was time for me to respond.

From the reference in your response, I extracted a quote that showed that the problem I was trying to solve will have to be nearly universal among users of TeX and LaTeX.

While you did not like my response, in fact I responded in the only way permitted by the software at the Web site. In particular, your:

"The space below each answer is for comments on those answers."

does not correspond to anything I see on my screen from my recent copies of Internet Explorer and Firefox.

For the question, net, I don't really need to change fonts in TeX and, instead, just change the Adobe Type 1 versions of the standard TeX fonts and used by Acrobat. That actually was essentially the way my question was stated.

For my response, I responded as needed the only way permitted on the Web site.

But you or someone voted down my careful, clear, illuminating response thanking everyone.

So, in this response I will omit a "Thank you". And I will minimize my use of Stack Exchange in the future.

  • which font you are using? – user2478 Mar 10 '11 at 11:55
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    Times fonts are darker than CM fonts. You can use txfonts package. (and don't use amssymb or amsfonts) Also, fourier is darker than CM fonts. – Leo Liu Mar 10 '11 at 12:54
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    The word darker is confusing me, since the PDFs produced by TeX are monochrome black & white (unless you're using a color package on purpose), and what's printed can't get any "darker". Having read the answers, it sounds like you're more interested in heavier fonts; that is, fonts with more weight to them. But after googling I've discovered that it's common usage to refer to a font with more weight as "darker." So it must only me that was confused... – Matthew Leingang Mar 10 '11 at 13:44
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    @sigma: stack exchange is not like a forum, where the new stuff is on the bottom. Instead, edit your question. The space below your question is for answers. The space below each answer is for comments on those answers. The best answers get voted towards the top. – Matthew Leingang Mar 10 '11 at 22:08
  • You should edit this additional information into your question. – Lev Bishop Mar 10 '11 at 22:43

Try looking through the LaTeX Font Catalogue. For example, Bitstream charter and palatino are both thicker than the default computer modern.

For example, to use a palatino font you could add the following to your preamble:

\linespread{1.05}         % Palatino needs more leading (space between lines)

mathdesign provides some good fonts, but awkwardly they are incompatible with some ams packages. (They do provide alternatives though, so they might be an option).

Or you could try \usepackage{fouriernc} as Leo Liu suggested in the comments.

Here's another way to get a really thick font for text and maths.


This uses Computer Modern Fibonacci and the mathastext package to make it use the text font for basic maths. The problem with this approach is that it might make the maths symbols (\sum etc) look rather thin in comparison...

thick text

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    Seconded the suggestion of \usepackage[charter]{mathdesign}. It should be noted that mathdesign.sty has a "secret" option cal which is not mentioned in the documentation, and it can be used to force it to use the default \mathcal font if one prefers that over the rsfs one (e.g. use \usepackage[utopia,cal=cmcal]{mathdesign} to use Utopia and keep the usual caligraphic math font) – kahen Mar 10 '11 at 13:55

You might try “A Survey of Free Math Fonts for TeX and LaTeX” by Steven J. Hartke to see what's out there.


If you don't want to change from computer modern (and restricting the discussion to type 1 fonts), then there are a few choices. For traditional OT1 computer modern, there is the Y&Y/Bluesky version, and there is the Bakoma version. The bluesky version is considered much better, and nearly all distributions use it by default now (in the past it was not freely available). For T1 encoding (\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}), there is CM-super and Latin modern (\usepackage{lmodern}). Latin Modern is generally considered superior (but see this question). These 4 versions of computer modern-based fonts are not specifically designed to have different weights (it's not like one is 'book' another 'regular' and another 'demibold'), but some are indeed a little heavier than others. You could try all 4 and see which you prefer.

  • To get one version (usually bluesky) of computer modern: do not \usepackage{fontenc};
  • To get the other version (usually bakoma): you will probably have to edit some configuration files of your distribution. I'm not sure about this point;
  • To get CM-Super: \usepackage[T1]{fontenc};
  • To get Latin modern: \usepackage[T1]{fontenc} and \usepackage{lmodern}.

To check which fonts you are using, in Adobe Reader: open the document properties dialog, and look on the Fonts tab (I'm not sure how you can distinguish bluesky from bakoma -- I vaguely remember that one will show up in uppercase (eg 'CMR10' and another lowercase 'cmr10') but I may be getting confused here.

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