Word has two fonts, one called "Times" and another "Times New Roman". Everything I see about Overleaf/LaTeX mentions setfont or \usepackage{times} but then they mention this is for Times New Roman.

Is there a command for setting it in Times? (I am trying to do it in the cls if that makes any difference).

enter image description here

  • 1
    Probably the Times font in Word is a clone of Times New Roman, so you shouldn't see a difference (in fact, the (obsolete) times package is a clone of Times New Roman). Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 18:32
  • @PhelypeOleinik This says they are different creativepro.com/times-roman-vs-times-new-roman Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 18:42
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    Are you sure the font is called "Times" -- or is it maybe "Times Roman". The differences between "Times Roman" and "Times New Roman" are pretty minor, really; some of the few noticeable differences are in the shape of the italic-z character and the shapes of both the upright-mode (i.e., non-italic) and italic-mode % character. By the way, the times package does not load either Times Roman or Times New Roman; instead, it loads the Nimbus Roman font which, in turn, is a Times Roman clone.
    – Mico
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 18:45
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    @PhelypeOleinik - Not to take this discussion too far into the field of pure arcana, but the text font loaded by the times package is a clone of Times Roman, not of Times New Roman. The way I can tell is by running \documentclass{article} \usepackage{times} \begin{document} \textit{z\%} \end{document}; the italic-mode z and % characters are the dead give-aways.
    – Mico
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 18:54
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    To short-circuit this, may I suggest that you don't use use either? TNR and variants are all derived from Stanely Morison's Times New Roman font, which he designed for, err, The Times, which is a newspaper, printed in narrow columns, and hence it is a narrow font. Very. Unless you are printing in newspaper column widths, you should use something much less narrow. The modern default combination of too-narrow TNR with too-wide A4 is both an aesthetic and a legibility disaster.
    – user207421
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 22:00

2 Answers 2


To distinguish between Times Roman -- Microsoft Office calls the font "Times", but just about everyone else calls it "Times Roman" -- and Times New Roman, it helps to know where to look in order to spot meaningful differences.

The following screenshot shows an overlay of Times Roman ("TR" for short) in orange and Times New Roman ("TNR" for short) in cyan. The first four lines show the lowercase alphabet plus the characters % and @ in upright, italic, bold, and bold-italic mode. The last four lines repeat this exercise, but for UPPERCASE letters.

enter image description here

  • Probably the single best and easiest way to tell whether the font is TR (or a TR clone) or TNR (or a TNR clone) is to examine the % ("percent") character: in all cases, the upper-left "o" (a diminutive "0", really) is connected to the diagonal slash bar in the TR case -- but not in the TNR case.

  • Almost as easy to spot is the difference between the TR and TNR versions of the @ ("at") symbol: The TR version is both more compact and does not protrude below the baseline. In contrast, the TNR version is larger and protrudes considerably below the baseline. This difference applies to the upright and italic font shapes and the regular and bold font weights.

What to do if the document under review contains neither % nor @ symbols? Well, then you'll have to look at the letters for (mostly very subtle) clues.

  • In the upright non-bold case (the first row in the screenshot shown above), the two sets of lowercase alphabetic characters look pretty much the same to anyone who is not an absolute font freak. (I'm not...) There are subtle differences in the way the top ends of letters with ascenders are shaped; however, I'm confident that you either have to be a font freak or see the letters superimposed in order notice these subtle differences.

  • In the italic non-bold case, the most readily noticeable difference (other than in the % and @ characters...) is in the letter z: the TR version of the italic-z character has a "swash", whereas the TNR version does not. The italic letter f also looks ever so slightly different across versions, but the difference is not nearly as obvious as with the italic z character.

  • In the upright-bold case, it is readily apparent that the TNR letters are set much more widely apart. If you look closely, you will also notice that the downstrokes of the TNR letters are much thicker than those of the TR letters. Another difference is in the top ends of the letters b, d, h, k, and l: the tops of these five letters are slanted to the left in the TR version, while they are perfectly horizontal in the TNR version.

  • In the bold-italic case, somewhat oddly, the letters are once more almost identical across the TR and TNR versions. The TR and TNR version of the bold-italic letter z even even share the same "swash"! The only straightforward differences are, once again, in the shapes of the characters % and @.

  • Turning to the UPPERCASE alphabetic characters, the non-bold upright ("roman" or "regular") letters are very similar across font versions. The only real difference is in the letter F: the TNR version is ever so slightly less wide than its TR cousin. And, if one has the luxury of overlaying the two sets of letters, one may also detect that the TNR version of Z is slightly less wide than its TR cousin.

  • For the uppercase italic letters, the main difference lies in the letters A, V and W: the TNR variants lean noticeably more sharply to the right than their TR cousins do.

  • In the case of uppercase upright bold letters, the TNR variants once more have thicker downstrokes, and they are also set more widely apart.

  • Finally, in the case of UPPERCASE bold-italic letters, the stroke widths are pretty similar across the two versions of "Times". The main difference lies, as was the case for the lowercase non-bold italic letters, in the characters A, V, and W; they are considerably more slanted in the TNR version. An easily detectable difference affects the letter J: it has a pronounced descender -- a "descender" is typographic jargon for the part of the letter that goes below the baseline -- for the TR version, but not for the TNR version.

What's the upshot of all this? I'm confident that unless you are writing for a publication that's read by font designers, none of your readers will notice -- let alone care about -- whether you use Times (aka Times Roman) or Times New Roman. Really!


The OP's query was:

[MS] Word has two fonts, one called "Times" and another "Times New Roman". Everything I see about Overleaf/LaTeX mentions setfont or \usepackage{times} but then they mention this is for Times New Roman.

The Overleaf claim that the times package loads TNR is wrong. To wit, compile the following MWE (minimum working example):

\% @ , z\textit{z} , \textbf{I\textit{J}}

Its output is

enter image description here

It should be obvious from the earlier discussion that the font provided by the times package is TR (actually, it's a clone of TR), not TNR.

Finally, here's the code that produced the screenshot shown above; it needs to be compiled under either LuaLaTeX or XeLaTeX. (Aside: I use MacOSX, which provides both Times Roman and Times New Roman by default. I have no idea which other operating systems may also provide both variants.)

\usepackage{xcolor}   % for '\textcolor' macro
\usepackage{fontspec} % for '\setmainfont' and '\newfontfamily' commands
\setmainfont{Times Roman}[ItalicFont=Times Italic,
                          BoldItalicFont=Times BoldItalic,
\newfontfamily{\tnr}{Times New Roman}[Ligatures=NoCommon]

\settowidth{\mylen}{\abc} % measure width of alphabet string

\obeylines% just for this example


  • 3
    Microsoft being different and difficult for no apparent reason??? Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 13:39
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    @JesseKnight - Your words, not mine… :-)
    – Mico
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 14:27
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    I love this, but I'm not sure it's right! The history is very complicated, because the "original" Times New Roman was a Monotype type (of which there were already various versions and sizes), and later Linotype versions. BUT the "swash" lower-case z for instance appears both in the modern Monotype digitization and in printed specimens from the hot-metal era. There are little differences in almost every digitization, but I'm not sure they are systematic. Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 18:27
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    @Mico. Yes, usually. Monotype casters cast piece by piece, just like handsetting. Linotypes cast a single "slug", and had matrix cases which "paired" italic and roman, and a less extensive unit system than Monotype. Common differences include (1) letters that could kern in Monotype couldn't in Linotype (so you often see emaciated fs eg) and (2) Linotype italics tend to be rather widely spaced. Digitization added to the difficulty, especially if it went via phototype. There is a rather interesting digitization of the 10pt size, which is much the best version, but costs. Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 19:10
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    its interesting that you are not seeing any difference. I have to do some more digging into why the word doc is not matching. It may be some other attributes such as kerning that are causing a difference, but in general I am seeing longer lines of text in overleaf than word. Also, maybe not so ironically, this is for a design-related conference, so you hit the nail on the head with that comment about who would notice. Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 20:27

I'm just going to add from a type-freak perspective a little bit to Mico's wonderful answer.

Bear in mind that what we mean by a "font" is always complicated. In the days of hot-metal typography, each size would be separately produced, and there wasn't the same ease or pressure to have "full" coverage.

Times New Roman was originally produced in 1931 by Monotype for the Times. It would originally have included different "cuts" for different sizes (but not, IIRC, any really large versions). I'm pretty sure it didn't include, originally, a bold italic (which is a very late arrival at the typographer's ball: probably not until the 1950s). Over the years, besides the various different size-versions, Monotype produced other variations: a "wide" version supposedly for book work, a narrow version, and as I say a bold italic. They also made a maths font. Meanwhile Linotype, a rival machinery company whose system was technically different (and had limitations that Monotype didn't) also produced a version in the 1950s. If you look at a book set in Times New Roman before 1970 or so, it will be in one of these versions.

Then came various ways of taking standard glyphs and scaling them automatically: first phototype and then computer typesetting. When this happened, different companies converted their fonts (often first to phototype). Most digitizations were based on the 12pt size, presumably because it was a "good compromise" between text sizes and headline sizes. In the process quite a few fonts were badly mangled. And different companies produced (legitimately) different cuts of the "same" font. The position is even worse for, say, Garamond, where there are two quite distinct family trees with utterly different origins! Also, bear in mind that some glyphs will have had to be added: for instance I don't know whether @ was even commonly available under hot metal.

All this really means that there is no "one true Times New Roman". 12pt Monotype TNR (which is probably the origin of most modern clones) is legit. But so is 10pt Monotype TNR (available as Times Ten, and a much better font than the one we use). So is Linotype TNR. Even some of the ghastly 1970s phototypesetter "cuts" are ... in a sense ... Times. You can be fairly sure that anyone who looks at it will regard all these Times clones as acceptable, and if they are demanding Times, they probably don't care much about fonts anyway.

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