Recently, I wanted to use unicode-math to introduce better distinguishable greek letters (e.g. boldface) at some point. However, I cannot seem to make things work. Here is my MWE:

\usepackage{unicode-math} % Must be loaded after amsmath.

%\setmathfont{Asana Math} % No matter what I select here
\setmathfont{XITS Math}
\alpha, \beta, \lambda

No matter, which math font I choose, the greek letters are not shown and the log contains lines like:

Missing character: There is no 𝛼 (U+1D6FC) in font "file:lmroman10-regular:sc

(ironically, my terminal does show the alpha). Why is the lookup being done in lmroman10-regular:sc (and how do I fix this)?

edit: lualatex --version:

This is LuaTeX, Version beta-0.80.0 (TeX Live 2016/dev) (rev 5238)


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1 Answer 1


Without the varwidth option, standalone typesets the document in a horizontal box and there $$ just means an empty math formula. Thus \alpha, \beta and \gamma are being typeset in text mode. By a precise choice of the LuaTeX team, a math symbol in text mode doesn't raise an error and tries to typeset the (character corresponding to the) symbol in the current font.

In other words, you have discovered another good reason for never using $$ in LaTeX. With \[...\] you get a different error message:

! LaTeX Error: Bad math environment delimiter.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.

l.9 \]

Not really very helpful, but perhaps it could lead you to a real solution.

However, using \[...\] with the varwidth option will not give the wanted result.

Here's the right way:

\usepackage{unicode-math} % Must be loaded after amsmath.

%\setmathfont{Asana Math}
\setmathfont{XITS Math}
\alpha, \beta, \lambda

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