I've written an exam paper for my students, using the exam class with fairly standard options, and specifically using the 12pt class option for 12 point type. I've just been informed that a student has vision problems that require an 18pt main font. What is a good way to achieve this? Some things that might be of impact:

  1. I don't make much use of smaller fonts (e.g., \small, etc.) but redefining just normalsize would not be sufficient since question headings, etc., use a larger size (mostly \large).
  2. Probably the cover page could remain the original size - it's the main question text that really matters
  3. Something a bit more that 18pt would be fine
  4. I do not want to switch classes, as my existing source depends upon the exam class
  5. I have been asked to keep to the original A4 page size, rather than scaling everything up to a larger page, because exam desks have limited size.
  • print on larger papers? – davyjones Nov 19 '17 at 4:29
  • @davyjones Our exams office asks that we keep to A4 to make the pages manageable on a standard exam desk (not very large) – beldaz Nov 19 '17 at 4:34
  • The exam-n package has the option largefont for font size of 18pt. You can consider get familiar with this other package if useful. – Cragfelt Nov 19 '17 at 4:51
  • @Cragfelt Useful to know of another exam package. Do you know how compatible it is with the exam class? I don't have much time to port things across. – beldaz Nov 19 '17 at 4:56
  • @beldaz Unfortunately I am not familiar with this package. In another hand, you commented the question tex.stackexchange.com/questions/378301/… to increase font sizes to the entire document using extarticle. In the answer of the question tex.stackexchange.com/questions/292655/… there is an example of implementation in another context – Cragfelt Nov 19 '17 at 5:07

I'd simply add \usepackage[20pt]{extsizes}:


\usepackage{showframe}% just for the example


 \question First Question
 \question Second Question


enter image description here

The same with extsizes commented out:

enter image description here

As for the title page, lack of an example makes it difficult to give advice.

  • This is the solution I'd have chosen if I'd known it in advance. – beldaz Nov 20 '17 at 7:03
  • In the documentation, it says: The sizes available are 8pt, 9pt, 10pt, 11pt, 12pt, 14pt, 17pt, and 20pt.. Is there any way to have some size in-between or larger (e.g. 16pt)? – Diaa Sep 3 at 21:00
  • @Diaa You should create your own .clo file based on the others. You find them in the same directory as extsizes.sty – egreg Sep 3 at 21:02
  • I am sorry but I don't know how to do so. Could you please refer to me to any relevant question? – Diaa Sep 3 at 21:03
  • 1
    @Diaa Look at size17.clo and size20.clo, mediating over them to create a size18.clo file. – egreg Sep 3 at 21:07

With extarticle from extsizes you can increase the font size up to 20pt in the entire document. To load the font options from this class to the exam class you can create a customized document class, lets say, myexam.

You need to create a .cls document in your editor with the following code

\ProvidesClass{myexam}[YYYY/MM/DD My exam class] %Current date

%%Preliminary definitions, needed by the options

%%This parts handles the options passed to the class.

%%Body of the class, most of the declarations appear here (if necessary).

Once you have created it, you can call as usual at the top of your preamble with


P.S.: You can consult the following questions for further information

  1. Difference between \LoadClass and \LoadClassWithOptions
  2. How to set default font size in latex cls file?

Also there is other package for exams named exam-n package, that has the option largefont for font size of 18pt. You can consider get familiar with this other package if useful for you.

  • To use the exam class I have the first line \documentclass[12pt,a4paper]{exam} so presumably there's no way to have two document classes simultaneously. Is there a simple way around this? In your other comment you link to tex.stackexchange.com/questions/292655/… that seems to change the base class to use extarticle but that seems to require hacking up a class file that is used by other documents. – beldaz Nov 19 '17 at 9:07
  • I have edited the answer – Cragfelt Nov 19 '17 at 10:51
  • 1
    trying out the different options to see what works best. Will select answer once that's clear. – beldaz Nov 20 '17 at 3:30

The other answers here are cleaner, but for posterity I'm posting the hackier solution we implemented in the limited time we had.

We used the \fontsize command (see, e.g., https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/4140/60034) to change the font size to 18pt (with 22pt baselineskip) after the cover page content, using:


It actually took a fair bit of work to tidy things up afterwards (oversize tables and paragraphs needing manual line breaks, adjusted page breaks, etc.) that required us to make a copy of the entire exam script source and edit it specially. So while the the source was rather neatly implemented as multiple files (one per question) \inputted from a top-level document this special version did not lend itself to a single-line solution.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.