So I've been writing some notes from a class in LaTeX, but recently I found some notes on the internet (.tex) written in Plain TeX, so when I compiled them I found out the font (Computer Modern) looks way smoother when using PdfTeX, is PdfLaTeX using a wrong font/doing something wrong, this only happens with that font, and is the one I want to use. I'll leave a picture of what I mean: https://i.sstatic.net/RDHiH.png

Top is pdfLaTex, bottom is pdftex Top is on PdfLaTeX, bottom is pdfTeX, its zoomed to 400%

First one Same order for this too.

enter image description here


\documentclass[fontsize=10pt, twoside,a4paper]{book}





\chapter{Cauchy's Theorem}

Let $f \colon \Omega \to \CC$ be analytic in $\Omega$ and let $\gamma$ be a closed Jordan curve inside $\Omega$ then $\intga f = 0$.

Plain TeX

\baselineskip = 18 true pt minus 2 true pt
\parskip = 2 true pt plus 2 true pt
\hfuzz = 2 true pt

\newif\iftitlepage  \titlepagetrue
\newtoks\chaptertitle  \chaptertitle={Complex Analysis}
    \oddpagehead={\vbox to 1 true in{%
    \noindent\parskip=0pt\baselineskip = 12 true pt%
    \vskip -\baselineskip%


\input amssym.def         
\def\CC{{\Bbb C}}
\font\pf = cmcsc10
\font\tf = cmbx10 scaled \magstep 3 
\font\rf = cmr10 scaled \magstep 1


\font\smc = cmcsc10 at 10 true pt
\font\smi = cmti10 at 10 true pt
\font\smr = cmr10 at 10 true pt
\font\smb = cmbx10 at 10 true pt

\centerline{\tf Cauchy's Theorem}

\proclaim Theorem.
Let $f \colon \Omega \to \CC$ be a continuous function such that $\intga f = 0$ for every closed path $\gamma$, then $f$ is holomorphic.

  • Did you check you used really the same font? And not a derived font (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Modern#Derived_versions)
    – knut
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 22:15
  • look in acrobat font menu or pdffonts commandline utility at what fonts (and what type of font) is used in the two cases Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 22:19
  • For pdfLaTeX, add \usepackage[T1]{fontenc}?
    – cfr
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 22:37
  • @David Carlisle I edited with what you asked.
    – aram
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 22:52
  • @cfr yes, that one.
    – aram
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 22:52

1 Answer 1


Addingf \showoutput to your MWE shows that it uses these fonts (as known to LaTeX)


which actual font files it uses to get those glyphs depends on the map files used by pdftex (for pdftex) or dvips if you are using latex. Pdftex shows them at the end as


The pfb shows they are all type 1 fonts and acrobat's font menu confirms all fonts are Type 1.

So it seems that you have a mapping for some of the fonts to the original metafont generated bitmap fonts.

I would guess you need to install the cm-super package.

Note that the font shapes are different in any case, the latex one using designed fonts designed for 21pt whereas the plain TeX is using the 10pt body font scaled, which typically produces characters with thicker strokes as the strokes are scaled in proportion to the increase in font size.

  • Are you sure? On my system, I get (primarily) 10pt CM with pdfLaTeX, at least. Why would it use 21pt? (I guess that's a typo but it isn't using 12pt here, either.) Or are you saying that pdfTeX is using 10pt fonts which are simply scaled versions of 21pt, whereas TeX is simply using scaled 10pt fonts? (This wasn't my understanding of LaTeX's font configuration and the CM font setup, but that doesn't mean anything, and I don't know enough about plain TeX to know what it is expected to do.)
    – cfr
    Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 10:33
  • @cfr 21 wasn't a typo for 12 (me, a typo?, surely not) but an approximation to 20.74 specifically the font sfbx2074.pfb the plain tex version was using a 10pt font at \magstep3 Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 10:44
  • Apologies. But it is using 10pt type1 fonts as well, isn't it?
    – cfr
    Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 10:48
  • 1
    @cfr yes sure but they are coming out as type 1 scalable fonts in the list in the question, so (presumably, I'm having to guess a few things not shown) it is the display fonts for which the OP hasn't got scalable versions. Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 10:53

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