I want to check if fontspec (with LuaLaTeX) can load a certain font and if not try to load another one. For pdflatex I did by checking if the package file exists; but I don't find an easy way to do it with fontspec.

1 Answer 1


Updated answer

The patch originally described here is not needed (and may not work in recent releases).

As documented in the fontspec manual, fontspec now has an

\IfFontExistsTF{font name}{yes code}{no code}

command that allows you to test if a font exists.

Original answer

You can trap the error and make it a warning, just setting a flag, then test for that and load something else, see the code below. Note this is poking into internal interfaces so if it breaks at a fontspec update, don't complain:-)



\cs_set:Nn \__fontspec_load_font:
  \__fontspec_font_set:Nnn    \l_fontspec_font
     { \__fontspec_fullname:n {\l_fontspec_fontname_up_tl} } {\f@size pt}
  \__fontspec_font_if_null:NT \l_fontspec_font { 
\__fontspec_warning:nx {font-not-found} {\l_fontspec_fontname_up_tl} }
  \__fontspec_font_gset:Nnn   \l_fontspec_font
     { \__fontspec_fullname:n {\l_fontspec_fontname_up_tl} } {\f@size pt}
  \l_fontspec_font % this is necessary for LuaLaTeX to check the scripts properly

\cs_set:Nn \__fontspec_load_fontname:n
    \__fontspec_load_external_fontoptions:Nn \l_fontspec_fontname_tl {#1}
    \prop_get:NVNF \g__fontspec_fontopts_prop \l_fontspec_fontname_tl \l__fontspec_fontopts_clist
     { \clist_clear:N \l__fontspec_fontopts_clist }
    \__fontspec_font_set:Nnn \l_fontspec_font {\__fontspec_fullname:n {\l_fontspec_fontname_tl}} {\f@size pt}
    \__fontspec_font_if_null:NT \l_fontspec_font { 
\__fontspec_warning:nx {font-not-found} {#1} }



\typeout{(zzzz found (strange:-)}
\typeout{zzzz not found, trying TeX Gyre Bonum}
\setmainfont{TeX Gyre Bonum}
\typeout{not found that either, stopping}

  • 3
    One day, the private scope will mean something :-) Jun 15, 2015 at 12:19
  • 5
    @SeanAllred there's no privacy in a macro expansion language, only gentleman's agreements not to peek (not followed here:-) Jun 15, 2015 at 12:33
  • I can't compile your code : ./test_font.tex:38: Undefined control sequence. \__fontspec_load_font: ->\__fontspec_font_set:Nnn Mar 18, 2020 at 8:30
  • 1
    @AlainMatthes as Sean hinted that was a patch to an undocumented internal interface, and it may have broken in the years since I posted this, but since then Will took the patch idea and made a documented interface see section 2.4 of the fontspec manual \IfFontExistsTF I will update the answer above with a pointer to this function. Mar 18, 2020 at 9:22
  • Thanks for your comment ! Mar 18, 2020 at 9:26

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