# Why should one use pltotf AND vptovf to intall a font?

According to the fontinst package documentation "Font installation software for TeX" by Jeffrey, A. et.al. it is necessary to create: 1st) the tex font metric file (tfm) with the pltotf program from the property list (pl) files, and 2nd) the tex font metric file (tfm) with the vptovf program from the virtual font (vpl) files.

This is also visualized by the authors cover picture:

Why should one do the tfm file generation twice, since the tfm files are overwritten during that process? If the overwriting should not happen, how should I avoid this?

I am in the process of installing a Type 1 font that I got from somewhere. The result is that I get only black squares in the final pdf. Unfortunately I am not able to use XeTeX or LuaTeX since I must use the animate package.

• Perhaps you should take a look at Philip Lehmann's `Font Installation Guide`. Jun 16, 2017 at 20:34
• @Bernard I am following Philip Lehmann's Font Installation Guide Jun 16, 2017 at 21:30
• The files with extension `.pl` should be processed using `pltotf`, and the files with extension `.vpl` should be processed using `vptovf`. Look closely, and you’ll see that it is never the case that the same basename occurs with both extensions, so clashes in the names of `.tfm` files will never occur too.
– GuM
Jun 16, 2017 at 23:49
• That's it indeed! Thank's @Gustavo-Mezzetti. Those vpl files have actually not properly generated in my case since there the afm files were already corrupted. There are so many files around ... hard to keep an overview if you're a font install newbie like me. Jun 17, 2017 at 13:12
• @ShreevatsaR: Done. :-)
– GuM
Jun 20, 2017 at 23:50

Quoting from Philipp Lehman's Font Installation Guide, section 1.3 (p. 16):

In order to convert the TeX metrics into a binary format that TeX can read directly, we run the property list files (`pl`) created by fontinst through `pltotf` to generate TeX font metric files (`tfm`). We also run the virtual property list files (`vpl`) […] through `vptovf` to create virtual fonts (`vf`). When using the Bash shell, this can be accomplished as follows:

``````for file in *.pl; do pltotf \$file; done
for file in *.vpl; do vptovf \$file; done
``````

In other words, we are speaking, here, of two separate tracks: one for `.pl` files, that must be processed with `pltotf` (only), in order to convert them to `.tfm` files, and the other for `.vpl` files, that must be fed to `vptovf` (only): the latter will generate from them both the Virtual Font (`.vf`) file and its accompanying TeX Font Metric (`.tfm`) file.

See also `man pltotf` and `man vptovf` for further information.

Note that the fontinst program will never generate a pair of `.pl` and `.vpl` files sharing the same basename: indeed, each font will be either an “actual” font, and in this case a `.pl` file will be written, or a “virtual” font, for which a `.vpl` file will be generated. This entails that, although, as we have just seen, TFM files are indeed created along both processing tracks, a name clash for them cannot occur nonetheless.