In preamble, I have:


but it doesn't work.

How do I set my font to Arial throughout the entire document?


In short, both answers work.

It really depends on the environment. If using LaTeX and don't mind using a cloned font then choose Herbert's answer. If using XeLaTex and want to use the authentic font then choose Leo's.


3 Answers 3


Arial is not installed in TeX Live, I'm not sure about MiKTeX. You can use helvet package instead.


If you use XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX, you can use TrueType Arial font installed in your Windows/Mac:


In Ubuntu, Arial can be installed by a Synaptic Package named ttf-mscorefonts-installer.

  • I'm using Ubuntu 10.04 and have texlive-full 2009-7 installed. I see XeTeX & LuaTeX installed but your method doesn't work. Jul 24, 2011 at 7:19
  • 1
    @Level1Coder: Well, Arial is a commercial font. You use Linux, but there's no Arial in linux distribution.
    – Leo Liu
    Jul 24, 2011 at 7:30
  • 3
    @Leo: But there is: corefonts.sourceforge.net The corresponding package is usually named corefonts. Jul 24, 2011 at 7:47
  • 8
    @Level1Coder: Arial is very similar to Helvetica, Arial and Helvetica are both commercial fonts. helvet package actually uses Nimbus Sans font (a Helvetica clone); uarial uses URW A030 font (an Arial clone). Most cases, helvet package will suffie. If you want to use real Arial, you must get the TrueType/OpenType font from Windows/Mac and install it in your Linux OS, then use it with XeLaTeX/LuaLaTeX.
    – Leo Liu
    Jul 24, 2011 at 7:53
  • 1
    +1 to Andrey for mentioning corefonts. After experimentation, I found under Ubuntu Synaptic Package named ttf-mscorefonts-installer. After installing this, Leo's answer works! Changed my mind to use Leo's answer because of the use of authentic fonts from MSCoreFonts. And also because of frequent use of Chinese, XeLaTex seems to be the best tool to handle Chinese characters. (Was planning to settle with PDFLaTeX to create intermixing English/Chinese documents) Jul 24, 2011 at 8:54

Use it this way:



but you must have installed the package called uarial (not arial) beforehand. If you do not have this package then install it with sudo getnonfreefonts --sys -a, which will install all available non-free fonts into your system (more info here). The script was part of TeXLive until the 2009 version. Ubuntu users should have it already installed.

  • 3
    uarial, urw-arial in urw bundle is not available in TeX Live and MiKTeX, it is necessary to install the font package manually. I guess it would be a little difficult for newbies.
    – Leo Liu
    Jul 24, 2011 at 7:13
  • 2
    run sudo getnonfreefonts-sys and they will be available ...
    – user2478
    Jul 24, 2011 at 7:17
  • 1
    I tried \usepackage{uarial} in MiKTeX and it was installed automatically (with the usual prompt). Feb 22, 2017 at 4:18
  • 1
    True, it changed with TL 2016, if I am right.
    – user2478
    Nov 15, 2017 at 8:06
  • 2
    10 years later, and this worked for me! Great solution!
    – V-Red
    Mar 16, 2021 at 22:02

I struggled with this forever. Finally found an article that showed me these two lines of code:

\renewcommand{\rmdefault}{phv} % Arial
\renewcommand{\sfdefault}{phv} % Arial

Only thing that worked for me, after hours of struggling with luatex and xelatex.

This answer only loads a Helvetica clone, not true Arial. If you need true Arial for whatever reason this won't work.

  • 3
    Note that these instructions load a Helvetica clone, not true Arial. Because Arial is itself a clone of Helvetica, the result may be good enough for your requirements. Your answer should make clear(er), though, that it answers the OP's query only approximately, not exactly.
    – Mico
    May 16, 2017 at 2:34
  • Hmm, good call. I didn't think of that!
    – Blairg23
    May 16, 2017 at 21:03
  • Good enough for me. How dare SSHRC (a Canadian gov't research funding agency) demand Arial font if it's not free and open?!
    – CPBL
    May 23 at 17:42

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