I'm compiling the following document with pandoc:


using this command line:

pandoc -s --from markdown --to latex -o foo.pdf <(echo 'foo: $\mathcal{T}$')

If I use xelatex (--pdf-engine xelatex), the result looks like this:

a very curly letter T

but with pdflatex (the default, or --pdf-engine pdflatex), it looks like this:

a slightly less curly letter T

I'd like to be using xelatex if I can, but I prefer the result from pdflatex here – what's causing the difference, and is there a way to make xelatex output mathcal letters that are more like those produced by pdflatex?

  • 2
    Welcome to TeX.SX! If you want to stick with the classical Computer Modern \mathcal while using XeLaTeX, you can try \let\mathcal\relax\usepackage[cal=cm]{mathalfa}. Oct 16, 2018 at 18:46
  • Your issue would appear to be related more to pandoc than to xelatex. For sure, the simple program \documentclass{article} \begin{document} $\mathcal{T}$ \end{document} produces the exact same output under pdflatex, xelatex, and lualatex, viz., the non-curly variety of the caligraphic letter.
    – Mico
    Oct 16, 2018 at 19:23
  • xelatex uses unicode-math and so latin modern math. It is a design decision of the font designer to make the mathcal more curly. See tex.stackexchange.com/questions/385489/… Oct 16, 2018 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


Answer added per OP’s request.

The more curly “T” is from the OpenType version of Latin Modern: Latin Modern Math (OTF), version 1.959. As @UlrikeFischer explained in this answer, this was a design choice.

Assuming the following is what happened with you current situation:

% !TeX program = XeLaTeX
$\mathcal{T}$ % <- This produces the more curly calligraphic script

To get the classical Computer Modern calligraphic script back, without the need to search the font name and to learn about font declaration, you may consider using the mathalfa package:

% !TeX program = XeLaTeX
\let\mathcal\relax % <- Just in case (This is usually unnecessary).
$\mathcal{T}$ % <- Classical Computer Modern calligraphic script

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.