I am writing a thesis, and initially set it up in lmodern. It has quite a few graphics, which I produce with external programs (yEd, R, inkscape). Initially, I used Open Sans for the graphics, but my advisor suggested that it will have a nicer, more unified look if I use the same font for the text and graphics.

I switched the first diagram to Latin Modern Sans and was unpleasantly surprised at the way it gets rendered on screen. What had been nice and clean in Open Sans became smudgy-looking at 100% zoom on the 109 dpi screen. That's when I realized that a similar bad look had been bothering me about the main text body too.

As I expect that 1) the thesis will be read onscreen by reviewers (and hopefully later people who want to cite it) and 2) I will likely reuse graphics from it in presentations and papers, I would like to switch to something optimized for both text and screen. Is there a TeX font family which offers that?

I saw some similar questions, but none which address my concerns. Suggest a "nice" font family for my basic LaTeX template (text and math) seems to be about print-friendly fonts and puts an emphasize on math (of which I have very little). Is there a way to make standard LaTex PDF output look good *on screen* as well is answered by the suggestion of "use Latin modern", but Latin modern is not displaying well on screen. Which font is the most comfortable for on-screen viewing? discusses on-screen viewing only, and is answered with suggestions about changing the reader settings (over which I have no control) and general serif vs sans discussion.

  • One option might be to use psfrag-like features to let TeX replace text in an EPS file with its own text and fonts (including lmodern). This post indicates that yEd can work with psfrag, though I've found other posts indicating the opposite. Since most people don't use EPS files directly any more, this answer indicates you can use pstool for psfrag-like features with PDF output. Feb 15, 2016 at 14:37
  • @MikeRenfro Interesting suggestion! I'm not sure how comfortable it would be though. After all, I size the diagram elements so the text looks about right in them. If the font gets changed later, text elements could run out of their boxes or overlap. So I set Latin Modern as the font for all labels in yEd, and that worked great. The question here is which font to use instead.
    – rumtscho
    Feb 15, 2016 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


Using a LaTeX font catalogue, I chose a font combination which works for me. It turned out that Open Sans is available for LaTeX. That surprised me, as for some reason I had been under the impression that PSNFSS packages are the only option for changing fonts.

I am now using Open Sans for sans serif and Charter for serif by specifying


and this produces a beautiful, clean look with well hinted fonts at 100% magnification on all systems where I tried. Also, Open Sans is a .ttf font, so it can be used with extrafont in R, while Latin Modern is .otf, and it makes you jump through hoops when doing R plots.

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