I'm trying to create a LaTeX template for reports we use in our organization. The original template is in .doc format, and uses a few non-free fonts, specifically Gill Sans. I'm looking for a LaTeX font that is a close match for this. There's no need for it to be a perfect replacement, as it won't be used for copyrighted materials such as logos, but still should be difficult to distinguish from the real thing for non-specialists.

To generalize the question a bit:

Is there some sort of a recommendation engine for font substitution using LaTeX typefaces?

Ideally, choose a font, and get some reasonably good substitutes that are readily available on, say CTAN.

  • I know that I can use TrueType fonts with (Xe)LaTeX if I jump through some hoops (and we do have a license to use Gill Sans), and if there's no other way to do it, I will -- but I'd rather try to find a good replacement first that is ready to use out-of-the-box with LaTeX. Besides, it would be illegal for students to do so without obtaining a proper license. – Martin Tapankov Aug 31 '10 at 9:55
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    The Wikipedia page of a font sometimes has suggestions for free alternatives. Also you can browse through the LateX font catalogue. – Caramdir Aug 31 '10 at 10:11
  • I know about the catalogue, and I probably use it for this particular substitution, although it would take some time to study the fonts. But the suggestions from Wikipedia are not free (or not made for LaTeX), and I'd have to find substitutes for them as well.. But I was more curious about the recommendation engine, whether there's such a thing. – Martin Tapankov Aug 31 '10 at 10:24
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    I don't think you will find much that works with LaTeX out of box, using xelatex or lualatex is not that hard and you don't need jump through some hoops to use whatever font you have, though, as a matter of principle, I still prefer free (libre) fonts. – Khaled Hosny Aug 31 '10 at 11:44
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    @mindcorrosive: If you can't use Gill Sans, then Plan B doesn't really work, and Plan A doesn't exist (there is no free substitute). Time for Plan C—Latin Modern Sans or some other free sans font. – Philipp Aug 31 '10 at 16:00

To address your more specific question, check out GilliusADF, which is a GPL license font based on Gill Sans from the Arkandis Digital Foundry (ADF). The folks at ADF have been working to make TeX packages for their fonts. Some are already on CTAN like BaskervaldADF (based on Baskerville), VenturisADF (based to Utopia), ElectrumADF (original design?), RomandeADF (original design?). Unfortunately, Gillius hasn’t been packaged for LaTeX yet, but in the meantime, you could download the opentype versions from the ADF website, and use them either with XeLaTeX, or run them through otfinst or autoinst to use them with pdflatex.

  • As much as I would have liked an easily-available solution with a prepackaged LaTeX font, this is the closest I can get, it seems, with all the restrictions. Thanks! – Martin Tapankov Aug 31 '10 at 16:21
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    Perhaps this will insprire someone to package it. (Or you could do it yourself! ;) ) – frabjous Aug 31 '10 at 16:24
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    For anyone reading this; Gillius has since been packaged – Joost Feb 28 '15 at 17:32

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