Bold font for text

Is there a way to get a any other bold font?

We all know that \textbf provides bold font, but, is there a way to get a softer bold than \textbf? Something not that "black."

• I suppose any answer to your question will depend strongly on which font family you use. Computer/Latin Modern has just one "bold" weight (though there is both "bold extended" and "bold") along with the basic or "medium" weight. Other font families feature multiple weight classes. Are you looking for a font family that features text- and math-mode fonts, or just text-mode fonts? – Mico May 6 '15 at 2:09
• Not big deal really. Consider the default font and then apply '\textbf', so I'm wondering if we can get a font similar to '\textbf' but not that black. – Alejandro May 6 '15 at 2:14
• As I said, Computer Modern has only two weights: "bold" and "medium". If you want something inbetween, you'll need to switch to a font family that features multiple font weights. That said, there's a lot to be said to make switches in font weights abundantly obvious to the reader's eye. The last thing you want to do is to create confusion over whether some piece of text is bold or not. – Mico May 6 '15 at 2:17
• Ok so how do you get the medium one? – Alejandro May 6 '15 at 2:19
• Here is a question that relates to the mechanics of how to do it, if your font supports it: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/47883/… – Steven B. Segletes May 6 '15 at 11:08

In order to get a document with bold and "less bold" text, you need to use fonts that distinguish between the two. Here's an example with the libertine font.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage[bold]{libertine} % <- "regular bold"
\begin{document}
\textbf{\lipsum[2]}
\end{document}


\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage[semibold]{libertine} % <- "semibold"
\begin{document}
\textbf{\lipsum[2]}
\end{document}


You can also easily switch between bold and semibold within the same document (although I wouldn't recommend that) with libertineSB, which switches the font family to semibold.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage[bold]{libertine}
\begin{document}
\textbf{\lipsum[2]}
{\libertineSB{\lipsum[2]}}
\lipsum[2]
\end{document}


• +1. By the way, I think your example code illustrates quite nicely the wisdom of the commonly given advice -- among typographers -- that if one's going to switch between font weights in a font family with multiple weights, one should in general not select the next-heavier weight as the "bold" weight, because the difference between "adjacent" weights is usually so subtle as to likely be lost on the reader. Back to your example: I notice immediately the weight difference between paragraphs 1 and 3, but I'd be harder pressed to notice the difference between paragraphs 2 and 3... – Mico May 6 '15 at 13:48
• @Mico I too noticed that the weight of the text in paragraphs 2 and 3 looks too similar, but it's an artifact of the screen capture. They look sufficiently different in the actual pdf output. When I use the libertine font, I regularly use the semibold font, and that looks appropriate to me, as I find the bold font too heavy. EDIT: I should add that I hardly ever use bold types outside of headings anyway, so semibold is heavy enough for me there. I'm not quite sure what bold text in regular text should accomplish - I personally avoid it. – Sverre May 6 '15 at 13:52
• Aah, thanks for this additional piece of information. I've run your code on my system, and I can indeed see more of a difference between the semibold and "regular" weights. – Mico May 6 '15 at 13:59

There are two pssibilities you may want to consider:

1) The standard "bold" font is in fact "bold extended". You can choose a non-extended bold font using \fontseries{b}\selectfont in LaTeX. This font is still bold, but not extended. Its main purpose is typesetting bold tabular numbers.

2) You may create a semi-bold semi-extended font with METAFONT. All you need are the parameter files (like mycmdb10.mf). Copy cmr10.mf to mycmdb10.mf, look at cmbx10.mf, and interpolate all parameters where the two files differ. The result will give you a semi-bold semi-extended version of Computer Modern Roman. If you want a non-extended version, use cmb10.mf a interpolation partner instead.