I am reading from Topics in Galois Theory by Serre. I love this font.

He wrote this book in 1992.

I want to use the same font in an article.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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    I think the more relevant question may be: which printer was used for this book? :-) Apr 21, 2017 at 22:15
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    Actually the photograph of the book is more useful than the first two scanned images; in the first two images there are effects arising from the threshold between black/white used by the scanner. (Incidentally, Knuth faced a similar problem (camera's/projector's sensitivity to thresholds) when he was trying to digitize Monotype Modern 8A, which is what led him to invent Metafont to capture the actual design of the shape.) Apr 21, 2017 at 22:17

3 Answers 3


Looks like a very blurry, badly-printed version of Computer Modern.

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    Not sure I agree completely. The counters (enclosed spaces) of the lowercase 'e' look to be very small, quite unlike CM as well as the general antecedents of CM. Odd.
    – sgmoye
    Apr 21, 2017 at 15:25
  • @sgmoye look at the ss as well. They're not meant to look like that. It's bad thresholding probably in an attempt to remove blur in the print and scan.
    – Chris H
    Apr 22, 2017 at 8:06

It looks to me like Computer Modern. It's just blurry/smudgy, probably due to low quality of the original print.

Here's a short comparison:


  • It's Computer Modern alright, but the real interesting question is which font from the CM family it is. It does not seem to be cmr10 exactly, even in the photograph rather than the (poor) scan, and definitely not in the PDF. Apr 23, 2017 at 18:44
  • Simply the Serif font, from what it looks to me. Aug 23, 2017 at 21:29

Look at page 26 (page 41 of the PDF) from the link in the comments above. Do you agree that it is the same font as in your photograph? Here are links to the two images so you can open them in separate windows and compare: your photograph, PDF screenshot.

If you agree that the two use the same fonts (and I think they do, but I'm not certain), then we can use pdffonts to find the fonts used on page 41 of that PDF:

$ pdffonts serre_galois_theory.pdf -f 41 -l 41
name                                 type              encoding         emb sub uni object ID
------------------------------------ ----------------- ---------------- --- --- --- ---------
BLBFJH+CMSY10                        Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no      73  0
HYIDHF+CMMI8                         Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no      50  0
CXLHLR+CMR8                          Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no      47  0
BWDFWS+CMMI12                        Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no      44  0
MOFETR+CMBX12~28                     Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no      41  0
RMJZLX+CMR10                         Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no      31  0
BZIZXR+CMR12~12                      Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no      19  0
WEUGBU+CMMI6                         Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no     101  0
DRYCVS+CMR6                          Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no      98  0
AUDCCX+CMTI12                        Type 1C           Builtin          yes yes no      91  0

(Ignore the prefix of 6 random letters and the plus sign.) This shows that the fonts used on that page are: CMSY10, CMMI8, CMR8, CMMI12, CMBX12~28, CMR10, CMR12~12, CMMI6, CMR6, CMTI12. "CM" stands for "Computer Modern", a font family developed by Donald Knuth and used by default in (La)TeX.

But which Computer Modern font is which on the page, specifically?

By looking at different pages (instead of 41), we can tell that CMR12~12 is used on page 2,

[page 2

that on page 3, 7, 11, ..., 132, the two fonts are used CMR10 and CMR12~12 are used (in the headings), that on page 124 (the first page of the bibliography) the fonts used are CMBX12, CMR12~12 and CMTI12, and so on. Looking at the bibliography page, CMBX12 is obviously the bold font, and CMTI12 is the italic font, so the font used for "main text" is "CMR12~12".

Note that by default, using pdflatex on a document uses font CMR10. You can also get CMR12. But I'm not sure exactly what CMR12~12 is.

  • Actually I'm thoroughly confused and should probably delete this answer. Clearly the main roman font used on page 41 of the PDF (corresponding to the photo in the question) is one of CMR8, CMR10, CMR12~12, CMR6. But is it the same as on the bibliography page? And what is CMR12~12? Apr 21, 2017 at 22:58

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