I'm studying TeX from The TeXbook. I was asking myself, just for exercise, if there is a way to obtain a non-italicized \varepsilon in a simple way, without using some outer package but just with some basic TeX-hacks. At the present time, I cannot succeed in that. So I'm asking to you: is there such a way? Can you point out to me something on this respect?

I'm using plain TeX and the Computer Modern font family.

Is there, maybe, a way to remove the italic from \varepsilon? Is there maybe a way to bend the upper part of a character balancing the slant?

Is there some family of fonts similar to the Computer Modern but that allows me write that \varepsilon?

I tried to use another font (one which would allow me to write Greek letters) but the result is ugly to me, since I would like to write something as


with the same character type. Any idea will be appreciated.

  • Please tell us which TeX engine and which font (or fonts) you use. If you're using PlainTeX -- as would appear to be the case given that you're studying the TeXbook -- and the Computer Modern font family, the answer to your question is going to be "no", as the lowercase Greek letters in Computer Modern are all rendered in a slanted shape. (Of course, your objective is easy to achieve if you use LaTeX, load a package such as upgreek, and type $\upvarepsilon$.)
    – Mico
    Jan 28, 2015 at 8:15
  • I knew how to obtain such a result in LaTeX, but I'm not interisted in that. As you say I use PlainTeX and Computer Modern font family. So isn't there a way to bend the upper part of a character balancing the slant?
    – W4cc0
    Jan 28, 2015 at 8:20
  • Are you writing maths or 'real' Greek text?
    – Joseph Wright
    Jan 28, 2015 at 8:45
  • 2
    TeX (the typesetting program) is not going to be of much help to you if you want to stick with Computer Modern. Instead, you should learn how to use Metafont. Knuth created Metafont to generate the Computer Modern typefaces. Metafont has a multitude of parameters that govern various aspects of each glyph, including its slant. Find the settings for the glyph that's called up when \varepsilon is found, modify the setting(s) that pertain to the glyph's slant, and create a new math font family with the new \varepsilon in place of the standard version.
    – Mico
    Jan 28, 2015 at 8:48
  • That could be a nice thing to do. I will try! @JosephWright I'm fine also with `real' Greek text.
    – W4cc0
    Jan 28, 2015 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


You need to load a font which actually has an upright \varepsilon. You could use the CMU Serif OpenType font in conjunction with xetex.

\font\1="CMU Serif"
\1 tex τεχ

enter image description here

  • The OP has indicated that he/she wants to work exclusively with the Computer Modern font family.
    – Mico
    Jan 28, 2015 at 8:49
  • @Mico CMU stands for Computer Modern Unicode, so technically it is Computer Modern. OP didn't imply that he exclusively wants to use OT1 fonts. Jan 28, 2015 at 8:50
  • @HenriMenke This is satisfying. I (he) will also try to follow the advice of Mico anyway, maybe in the future it will be useful.
    – W4cc0
    Jan 28, 2015 at 9:12

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