Closely Related:
- https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/355429/153289
- Cannot produce english-greek document with xelatex
- Greek and Hebrew in a single pdflatex babel document

In closely related question / answer, it is suggested that Babel might not currently support concurrent bidirectional languages, (e.g., English, Latin, Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew).

A reference request:

How does a LaTeX writer actually look up this information? Where do you go? And what keywords do you look for?

Is there "official" Babel documentation that answers if this is supported, how to do this, and what compilers are required?

  • The example in that question works for me with both xetex and luatex. Your problem — to judge from your comments there — seems to be not with babel or with bidirectional languages but with finding the name under which fontspec (loaded by babel when you use \babelfont) recognizes the fonts.
    – Thérèse
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 19:19
  • 2
    Of course, we’ll need the exact code you’re trying and the specific error messages you get (not “doesn’t seem to work”) in order to help.
    – Thérèse
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 19:29
  • 2
    From the first version of your question, it’s clear that you’ve found the official babel documentation. I think you need, not further babel docs, but the fontspec manual, since \babelfont triggers the use of fontspec, and thus requires you to know something about the latter.
    – Thérèse
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 23:25
  • 1
    @Thérèse is right that you need to know something of how to specify a font using fontspec. One catch is that the normal way to select a font using fontspec is using \newfontfamily. But if you're using babel, you use \babelfont which has similar but slightly different syntax. This is mentioned in the babel manual. The other thing to keep in mind is that babel's bidi support is still taking its first steps. Using polyglossia and the bidi package will give more reliable output. (I'm liking the direction babel is taking though.) Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 0:37
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    My answer in the first linked answer represents the best solution for using babel as it currently stands. The fonts loaded are system fonts. But you can load a font from anywhere using fontspec (including a subfolder) if you give it the right information. Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 0:39

1 Answer 1


The documentation you are looking for is the babel manual and the fontspec manual.

With a local TeX installation you can find the documentation using the texdoc command line application, e.g., try running texdoc babel and texdoc fontspec in a terminal window.

You can also get the latest documentation from CTAN for both babel and fontspec

§5 of the fontspec manual explains the various options available to load fonts (by both font name and file name). Relevant sections of the babel manual include §1.14 and §1.20.

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