I'm very interested in the concept of TeX, specifically the use of mark-up language to organize the content of documents. I'm also very interested in typography and I am under the impression (I forget how) that TeX handles OpenType fonts and their multitude of fancy features very well.

Today I downloaded TeX Live for Windows and it seems alright. What I'm very disappointed about is how complicated it seems to be to use different fonts. I've been browsing the internet about this and what I gather is that fonts need to be in some specific format with other supporting files and all of it packaged then imported in the LaTeX document.

So about my question; have I missed something obvious? Is there some kind of command where you specify the font file's path and that's all you need to be able to use it in the document?

  • 2
    You want to use XeTeX. Take a look at the documentation for that.
    – TH.
    Aug 31, 2011 at 4:45
  • Thank you! I'm almost embarrassed at how simple the answer to my question is.
    – glifchits
    Aug 31, 2011 at 5:11

1 Answer 1


There are currently two (La)TeX rendering engines that let you use system fonts: XeTeX and LuaTeX.

If you use TeXLive 2011, I would recommend you use LuaTeX since it covers the vast majority of the features of XeTeX and will eventually replace PDFTeX.

If you're using an older version of TeXLive (I don't know about other distributions), LuaTeX is probably not very mature yet and you might be interested in starting with XeTeX.

When using XeTeX or LuaTeX, the easiest way to deal with system fonts is to use the fontspec package (see the many questions and answers on this subject).

  • You are most welcome!
    – raphink
    Aug 31, 2011 at 6:38
  • I just need a quick tip, this isn't working for me. If I switch the typeset in TeXworks to "ConTeXt (LuaTeX)" and try to render a document, it says "Undefined control sequence" for the line "\documentclass{article}"... Am I missing something?
    – glifchits
    Aug 31, 2011 at 21:19
  • @glifchits: ConTeXt is very different. It's an entirely different macro package.
    – TH.
    Sep 1, 2011 at 5:02
  • @TH So how do I use LuaTeX? Do I have to install it manually?
    – glifchits
    Sep 1, 2011 at 5:34
  • @glifchits: a recent thread on the texworks mailing list (tug.org/pipermail/texworks/2011q3/004526.html) seems to indicate that texworks doesn't propose luatex yet. In general though, you would use lualatex instead of pdflatex.
    – raphink
    Sep 1, 2011 at 6:35

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