Is there some way allow PDF search to find words with ligatures? I use XeLaTeX.


In the resulting pdf file, searching for the word "Prefix" fails.

  • Note that this is searchable e.g. with SumatraPDF on Win7. I'm assuming you used Acrobat Reader, with which I can reproduce your problem. Good MWE!
    – doncherry
    Aug 19, 2012 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


Add \usepackage{fontspec}. This actually loads the package fontenc, which would solve your problem for pdfLaTeX.

As a result, the ec fonts are loaded instead of the standard Computer Modern fonts, as Ulrike remarked in the comments. For other fonts, other solutions might apply; this answer addresses a standard setup as seen in the OP's MWE.

  • 5
    Your solution works because with fontspec you are using a different font which uses correct glyph names and so allow the pdf reader to "understand" the ligature. \usepackage[T1]{fontenc} (which switches from the cm fonts to the ec fonts), \usepackage{lmodern} or \usepackage{times} work too. Aug 20, 2012 at 8:37
  • @Ulrike - Thanks for your clue in this comment! fontspec doesn't help for fonts without proper glyph names, e.g. Cambria. I switched to LibertineOTF and all is well.
    – srking
    Aug 20, 2012 at 22:52
  • I have a similar problem. After adding '\usepackage{fontspec}' to the minimal example the word "prefix" becames searchable, however after adding '\setmainfont[Path=Fonts/,Extension=.ttf,BoldFont=FrutigerLTCom-Bold,ItalicFont=FrutigerLTCom-Italic,BoldItalicFont=FrutigerLTCom-BoldItalic]{FrutigerLTCom-Light}' the problem returns.
    – Mik
    May 3, 2018 at 14:37
  • By the way, the document with the Frutiger font worked for years until I shortly updated my MikTeX.
    – Mik
    May 3, 2018 at 16:18
  • @UlrikeFischer, could you look at this?
    – Mik
    May 4, 2018 at 13:44

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