I've been reading Donald Knuth's Computers & Typesetting and in chapter 4 the author says that one can specify a font using

\font\cs=<external font name>.

What I would like to know is how to load other fonts not defined in plain TeX, and, since I'm using MiKTeX on Windows, how to find which other fonts are currently installed (and while we're at it, how to install new ones).

Is it just needed to write the font name in the command? And if so, how do I find these names?

I've been searching for this information on the internet, but have only found LaTeX related stuff.

Thanks for reading my question.

  • see for example tex.stackexchange.com/questions/368044/… Jan 15, 2019 at 1:18
  • I typed it in and it doesn't work. But thanks anyway.
    – tigre200
    Jan 15, 2019 at 1:22
  • those commands using grep are for a shell such as bash, not the windows commandlines but the basic proceure is the same, find miktex's ls-R files for its texmf trees and any tfm file there is basically usable with \font there will be several thousand names Jan 15, 2019 at 1:25
  • Sorry, but I'm kind of a newbie and don't understand what are ls-R files, texmf trees nor what are tfm files, and how they fit together. Could you please explain it in more detail?
    – tigre200
    Jan 15, 2019 at 1:31
  • 1
    If you just want something other than Computer Modern in plain TeX, then the wonderful font-change package does most of the hard work for you...
    – Thruston
    Jan 15, 2019 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


I only have TeXlive. there are usually lots of fonts in your distribution. you can find the tfm folders. some files like pagdc8t.tfm are in there. then you can use it by saying \font\cs=pagdc8t. System fonts are also available in plain-tex, I recommend XeTeX, you can define using

\font\t="[/System/Library/Fonts/Times.ttc]" at 11pt

and there is a macro font-change-xetex,it provides some commands to specify a font, here is an example:

\input font-change-xetex
bala bala bala

This answer is only partial to explain the fonts available from windows system that are natively accessible to XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX other answers should address the Plain Tex Fonts Your first ports of call for primary TeX choices should be http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/ and ftp://tug.ctan.org/pub/tex-archive/info/Free_Math_Font_Survey/survey.html

Your Windows system will have hundreds of fonts and the name you use in one area will likely be different in another.

When you use a word processor such as notepad write (WordPad) or MSword Most (but not necessarily all fonts) come from the system font directory and you can see their basic names from the command prompt (console window) using this command >

dir %windir%\fonts

over 450 in my current set

This does not help to see what they look like or their working name e.g. towards the end of your list you should see in addition to verdana.ttf one called verdanai.ttf which will be used in place of Verdana when Italics is selected in an editor. To see the fonts visually either press windows key and then F O at which point you should be offered Font Previewer. or for the traditional folder view in file explorer address bar enter

%SystemRoot%\system32\control.exe fonts

Now I only see my 161 families to chose from. Again note NEITHER of these two viewers show the available character maps (there is a separate system tool to review and edit single characters.)

What the viewers do is let you compare styles and confirm system names such as "Comic Sans MS" which often trips users up as it is simply referenced as Comic Sans by many.

So to round up If you use the default XeLaTeX template available in the main distro version of TeXworks and simply use {Comic Sans MS} or any other system font as main font you get this

enter image description here

or like this
enter image description here

from How to install Bickham font or similar font

  • How is this related to LaTeX? You can use the same fonts in plain, given that you use the correct engine (remember there are differences between formats and engines).
    – TeXnician
    Jan 15, 2019 at 5:44
  • The question is about Plain, not LaTeX.
    – jarnosz
    Aug 19, 2019 at 16:05

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