I'm getting an error in LyX when I attempt to use certain features that require access to font resources, even though these same features work fine in TexShop.

For example, if I attempt to enable "expert" options for mathdesign, so that I can access small caps, the minimal code that does this works as expected in TexShop, but when I use the same code in LyX, I get an error

!pdfTeX error: pdflatex (file bchrc8a.pfb): cannot open Type 1 font file for reading

unless I remove the "expert" option (in which case I can't get small caps in the running headers in the example).




\title{This is the title and running head}

%As an example, use sans small caps in the running header 

Body text.
More body text.

All the files are where they should be, and are up to date, in my MacTeX 2011 installation (and clearly TeXShop is finding them).

TeXLive logs the following just before succeeding:


LyX logs the following just before failing:

  • AFAIK, the expert option tries to access the "Expert" fonts that are usually sold by font vendors and not available in free form.
    – egreg
    Mar 9, 2012 at 22:02
  • @egreg: The MWE works in TexShop though, and the relevant files are all present.
    – orome
    Mar 9, 2012 at 22:03
  • Are you sure that LyX is using the same TeX distribution as TeXShop?
    – egreg
    Mar 9, 2012 at 22:07
  • @egreg: I'm almost certain, yes. And the line that precedes the above error in the log is the full path to the location of the relevant font resource (/usr/local/texlive/2011/t exmf-dist/fonts/type1/bitstrea/charter/bchr8a.pfb, so LyX knows where it is).
    – orome
    Mar 9, 2012 at 22:21
  • Then I suspect a permission issue. What's the output of ls -l $(kpsewhich bchr8a.pfb)? You have to use the Terminal for this.
    – egreg
    Mar 9, 2012 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


The expert option requires to buy commercial fonts, as is detailed on page 3 of the documentation of mathdesign.

The discrepancy in behavior between LyX and TeXShop can be explained by the fact that the example you submitted doesn't use Charter small caps because of the \sffamily command in the \fancyhead line that is probably not present in the file you're using with LyX.

The error message indeed points to

!pdfTeX error: pdflatex (file bchrc8a.pfb): cannot open Type 1 font file for reading

and bchrc8a.pfb should exactly be Bitstream Charter Expert. Notice that the log excerpt from the TeXShop run mentions uhvr8a.pfb (Helvetica), that is in fact used for the header.

  • So if I had \newthought{Now} I see! TeXShop would fail too (because it would look for charter small caps.
    – orome
    Mar 9, 2012 at 23:10
  • One final question: The mathdesign manual says I need a "Windows Postscript" version (I assume Mac will do as well). The only way I see of getting that is in a $200 package. Are there generally other sources (for TeX applications like this where the "missing" bits of a package can be acquired go fill gaps in a TeX workflow)?
    – orome
    Mar 10, 2012 at 0:02
  • The "Windows Postscript" refers simply to the .pfb file. Mac OS used to have a different format for font files, but this has not been the case since Mac OS X came out. Only fonts are "the missing bit".
    – egreg
    Mar 10, 2012 at 0:04
  • FWIW, this was not the case for me. I purchase a "Mac PostScript" font and it failed to work. I then purchased the "Windows PostScript" version and it worked fine.
    – orome
    Mar 12, 2012 at 20:04

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