In my document preamble I use the following code to set my desired font and at the same time to set as default text colors different gray values for italic, bold and bold-italic text:


By and large, this works as expected when generating PDF via xelatex -- apart from one thing: if I want to set specific bold strings individually to a different color, say red, like this:

\textcolor{red}{\textbf{these words should be red}}

or this:

{\textbf{\textcolor{red}these words should be red}}}

it does not work as I expected, and the PDF output for both these strings is still in gray color...

How can I override the gray color which is set as default when using the fontspec package's font features?

1 Answer 1


A \addfontfeature command will overwrite the standard font colours and other features within the specified stretch, e.g.

{\addfontfeature{BoldItalicFeatures={Colour=red}}\bfseries\itshape these words are red}

But this might not be too practical. A \newcommand might work:


Then call \mycolouredtext{green}{\bfseries\itshape This text is green} to get a green text that is italicized and boldfaced. This command will not have any influence on other, esp. following, stretches of text.

Btw, there is a syntax error in your last example of code.

{\textbf{\textcolor{red}these words should be red}}

should be

{\textbf{\textcolor{red}{these words should be red}}}

otherwise, only the first t of these will be printed in red.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I just started to experiment with the \addfontfeatures command too, even before seeing your answer, after coming across it in the fontspec manual. But I didn't get it to work so far. I'll try some more, with your specific suggestions in mind. Apr 12, 2016 at 13:44
  • I also corrected the syntax error in my question. It's not in my code, it was just a typo when copying it... Apr 12, 2016 at 13:45
  • Currently I don't get it to work in my environment. But the problem may be on my side. The error I encounter is: ! Illegal parameter number in definition of \ps@plain.. I'll have to learn + master the \newcommand syntax first, before I can debug this further. Thanks for your help. Apr 12, 2016 at 14:12

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