I know XeTeX can easily turn on and off Linux Libertine's different sets of ligatures as described in the Manual for Linux Libertine with XeTeX, but is there a way to use the discretionary or the historical ligatures with pdfTeX? Is this just the point where pdfTeX can't keep up with XeTeX anymore?

The three sets of ligatures (standard and the two before-mentioned) as well as some examples of each are listed on page 8 of Libertine's German documentation for XeTeX, but I'd also be interested in a full list of each.

As a reference: The pdfTeX package for Linux Libertine is called libertine, it doesn't have a real documentation on CTAN, just a readme; another sort-of documentation doesn't mention any ligature-related feature. So I might be looking for a solution outside the range of the package? Is this possible with whatever font tables are installed with the package?

  • 1
    I just want to say that this is a perfectly written question which itself offers answers to various possible, otherwise additional, questions by less experienced users. I am being a bit pathetic, but it was a pleasure reading it. May 24, 2011 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


The glyphs are accessible. E.g. you get the historical st like this:



But I don't think that the author of libertine did set up a family which uses this ligature, so you would have to generate tfm + fd-files and perhaps a suitable virtual font yourself.

  • Great, that's a good start. In Libertine's German documentation for XeTeX, section 5.3.20 (page 87) I found something that looks like a complete list of the special (non-Unicode) ligatures (they use a "private" area in Unicode; the few Unicode typographic ligatures are in section 5.3.25). Is there an easy way to tell pdfTeX to replace e.g. every tt with {\libertineGlyph{t_t}}? The keywords "tfm + fd-files" and "virtual font" that you mentioned are nothing I have experience with, how could I get started with this?
    – doncherry
    May 24, 2011 at 19:50
  • It definitely smells like, in the end, I'm gonna wanna use this great tweak of yours to make the ligatures searchable again, in this case e.g. with \pdfglyphtounicode{t_t}{E03C}.
    – doncherry
    May 24, 2011 at 20:04
  • I learned a lot about TeX-fonts from the first edition of the LaTeX Graphics Companion. The chapter is not included in the print of the second edition but it is freely available: xml.web.cern.ch/XML/lgc2/tlgc2extra.pdf. The important section is 21.3. May 25, 2011 at 7:38
  • The example in this answer no longer compiles with pdflatex as \libertineGlyph is undefined. It may be related to tex.stackexchange.com/questions/78516/… , but I don't know how to fix up the answer.
    – Mohan
    Dec 9, 2012 at 22:17
  • Also see tex.stackexchange.com/questions/76305/… which comes closer to an answer
    – Mohan
    Dec 9, 2012 at 22:57

You must log in to answer this question.

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