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These two packages seem to be very similar in that they provide the "Times"/"Times New Roman" fonts for text. What I'm not sure about, however, are their differences. When switching between the two in a 400ish page document, the fonts don't appear to change in terms of their appearance (by just looking at one sentence), but the spacing changes throughout the document.

So, what's the difference between them?

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    The CTAN page of the times package starts with the following words: "The package is now obsolete".
    – Mico
    Feb 14, 2023 at 22:05

1 Answer 1

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The times package is very small it is, in total

\renewcommand{\sfdefault}{phv}
\renewcommand{\rmdefault}{ptm}
\renewcommand{\ttdefault}{pcr}

so setting Sans Serif, Roman, and typewriter to Adobe Helvetica, Times Roman and Courier.

It does nothing to make these visually compatible, and nothing at all about math. Orginally LaTeX/dvips would generate PostScript that did not contain any fonts so would be much smaller, and would still print on the PostScript laser printers of the time, that had these fonts built in. (PS level 1 just had these three plus Symbol, later releases added New Century School Book etc).

With requirements to generate portable PDF that embed all fonts, current map files re-map requests to the Adobe fonts to the URW clones that were made freely avalable originally for use with the ghostscript Postscript renderer.

The times package should be considered a historical artifact and not used now. Using Times alongside Helvetica and Courier, with no adjustments, does not make great output, and if used with computer modern math it's worse.

The tx fonts (with improved tex support now in newtxtext and newtxmath packages) are a set of virtual fonts aiming to cover a range of latex symbols in visually compatible font families. The core roman font is based on the same URW Times clone, so basic roman text will look the same, but overall symbol coverage and matching font choice is much improved.

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