For some texts that I am typesetting, I would like to have more blackboard letters than are usually available with the AMS fonts (or with fourierbb etc.)

In particular, I felt the need to denote the function that only assumes 0 as a blackboard 0, but not with, say, $\mathbb{O}$ (that's a capital letter o, not a zero), and a blackboard 1 for the function that only assumes 1 (this is particularly useful when one is talking about arithmetic functions and the Möbius inversion formula).

For typesetting with plain latex, I have used MinionPro with MnSymbols and looking a little bit, I found the package bbold to be almost what I wanted, but with two exceptions:

  1. The fonts embedded in the final PDF document are Type 3 fonts.
  2. They don't actually match the look of MinionPro.

Looking a bit further, I saw that the DejaVu fonts produced by the DejaVu project has all symbols in the set [A-Za-z0-1] in a very free license, they actually look reasonable with MinionPro (and Linux Libertine) and, with the source format in Fontforge, I was able to strip all the characters to create a PostScript Type 1 font.

But here is my problem: After I did all that, I am using the following python script to create the pfb file, but I had no success using the fonts after installation, but I did have success if I used directly

$\font\blackboardfont=fdjr8r at 10pt$

instead of what I would understand as being the "normal" way:

$\font\blackboardfont=fdj at 10pt$

that is, without the type and encoding hardcoded.

This must be a really elementary question, but I am lacking some background here and I would appreciate if others could help me learn what I am doing incorrectly so that I can also offer this on CTAN, as I saw that looking for blackboard letters and numbers is more popular than what I thought at first.

If it helps, I can upload the whole stuff that I have here to github.

  • 2
    There is a Type1 version of BBold on CTAN/TeXlive for a while now. STIX and ESSTIX fonts have good blackboard coverage as well, you may want to check that (the later are available on CTAN with TeX support.) – Khaled Hosny Oct 23 '11 at 0:42
  • @KhaledHosny, oh, great to know about the BBold Type1 version. I will try it again.OTOH, its look didn't quite match the look of MinionPro or Linux Libertine, which is why I took the blackboard characters from DejaVu Sans, but, given the script that I pointed, I may be doing something incorrectly. Do you see anything obviously wrong? Oh, on thing: I want "regular" fonts for TeX for collaboration purposes with people with old installations. But I would like more to learn, of course. :) – rbrito Oct 23 '11 at 1:58
  • 2
    I think you are mixing TeX and LaTeX-methods to call fonts. With the primitive \font command you must use "full" names like fdjr8r. To call a font throught its family name "fdj" e.g. with the LaTeX commands (\fontfamily{fdj} etc) you need some additional macro level like the LaTeX nfss with fd-files. – Ulrike Fischer Oct 23 '11 at 9:41
  • Thanks @UlrikeFischer. Yes, that was one problem inded: the lack of a fd file. – rbrito Nov 18 '11 at 21:57

Have you tried the mbboard package? It contains an obscene amount of "blackboard" symbols.

Note that the package is not included neither in MiKTeX 2.9 nor TeXLive 2011, but it's easy enough to install in your local texmf directory.

The symbols you're looking for can easily be typeset so:



  The $\mathbb{0}$ symbol is used to denote a function that only assumes 0,
  whilst the  $\mathbb{1}$ symbol is used to denote a function that only
  assumes 1.

Hope it helps!

PS: does anyone know why it's not included in either distribution? licensing issues?

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks @mpr. I also wonder why it is not included in the main distributions. I just skimmed the description of the fonts and it seems that the only potential problem with the fonts would be their (again, potential) "non-freeness". – rbrito Nov 18 '11 at 21:59

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