I am looking for at way to plot graphs in R, using LaTeX fonts.

In the documentation for pdfFonts in R, it states that:

There are also mappings for "ComputerModern", "ComputerModernItalic" and, as from R 3.1.0, "ArialMT" (Monotype Arial).

When using pdf(file = outputFile, width=11.692, height=8.267, family = "ComputerModern") I get the following error message:

Error in pdf(file = outputFile, width = 11.692, height = 8.267, family = "ComputerModern",  : 
  unknown family 'ComputerModern'
Execution halted

I am using R version 3.2.2 (2015-08-14). How can I use LaTeX fonts in R? Preferable without installing extra libraries.

  • 1
    Welcome to TeX.SX! I'm not sure that this is entirely on-topic for this site. It would probably be more appropriate on Stack Overflow. Nonetheless, there's a fontcm package that can be used with the extrafont package (see here). I've never had much luck getting that to work. Instead, I've had luck installing cm-unicode and using it as "CMU Serif" with extrafont. – Adam Liter Dec 16 '15 at 22:37
  • Thanks for the welcome. I tried your proposed solution, but ended up with probelms for my PDF Viewer. I have posted my solution below. – YnkDK Dec 17 '15 at 11:16
  • Did you also embed the fonts in your PDF? If they're not embedded in the PDF, then the viewer would just default to a certain font. extrafont provides the command embed_fonts() to allow you to do this, which is discussed in the link from my first comment. You can also use CairoPDF() from the Cairo package to embed fonts, which is something I've had more success with than using extrafont's embed_fonts(). tikzDevice is a good solution, too, though! – Adam Liter Dec 17 '15 at 17:49

This is how I did it in Windows:

  1. Install the extrafont package.
  2. Install Latin Modern fonts, e.g. from http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/latin-modern-roman. Watch out, you need to install the TTF version of the font, font_import() can't handle OTF.
  3. Import the fonts using font_import().
  4. Load the fonts using loadfonts(device = "win"). Use the device = "Win" parameter to make the preview in R Studio work.
  5. Set the font family graphics parameter using par(family = "LM Roman 10").
  6. Plotting in R Studio now works and so does pdf export (see the pictures below).

This is the full code you need to use:

    # Run once
    # Install **TTF** Latin Modern Roman fonts from www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/latin-modern-roman
    # Import the newly installed LModern fonts, change the pattern according to the 
    # filename of the lmodern ttf files in your fonts folder
    font_import(pattern = "lmodern*")

    # Run each time
    loadfonts(device = "win")
    par(family = "LM Roman 10")
    x <- seq(1, 10, 1)
    y <- seq(1, 10, 1)
    plot(y ~ x, main="This plot uses LaTeX font!", ylab = expression(alpha))

R Studio preview:
R Studio preview

Exported pdf:
PDF export


The selected solution.

It seems to be imposible to do without installing an external library. I tried using extrafont, but then my default PDF Viewer did not have the font used.

I ended up using the library tikzDevice, which exposes the method/device tikz, acts exactly like the pdf device, but outputs TikZ code instead. This seems more powerful, since the font is then entirely dependent on my LaTeX setting and I can include arbitrary math symbols.

Below is the code I am using, which plots the running time of my algorithms with standard deviation error bars and writes the output to a .tex-file.

tikz(file = outputFile, width=11.692, height=8.267)
ggplot(tgc, aes(x=E, y=wall.time, colour=Algorithm)) + 
  geom_errorbar(aes(ymin=wall.time-se, ymax=wall.time+se), width=.1) +
  geom_point() +
  xlab("Number of edges (|E|)") +
  ylab("Wall time (secs)") +
  ggtitle(paste0("Running time with |V| = ", dt$X.V.[1])) +
endoffile <- dev.off() 
  • 1
    With options() you can change the tikzDefaultEngine to luatex (or xetex), for example, and then you can add lines to the preamble of the output file with getOption() and tikzLuatexPackages (or tikzXelatexPackages) that would allow you to specify the font you want with fontspec. See §2.1 of the tikzDevice manual. – Adam Liter Dec 17 '15 at 17:56

I also tried several times and found that you'll need to use device=cairo_pdf to save you pdf figure, otherwise, you can draw your figure but cannot save it successfully. It looks like that (by the way, I used ggplot2).

d <- data.frame(x = seq(1, 10, 1), y = seq(1, 10, 1))
ggplot(d, aes(x, y)) +
  geom_line() +
  geom_point() +
  theme(text=element_text(family="LM Roman 10", size=20)) +
  ggtitle("This plot uses LaTeX font!")
ggsave("fig.pdf", width = 6, height = 4, device=cairo_pdf)

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