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2.4 Variants

Variants include typeface variations (e.g., italic, sans serif), and font encodings (e.g., Adobe standard, TeX text).

A fontname may require multiple variants. To resolve the worst ambiguities, we specify that any encoding variant (‘7’, ‘8’, or ‘9’, see below) come last and any other numeral variant come first (to avoid confusion with a design size). We recommend but do not require that the other variants be given in alphabetical order. (It’s not required because it’s too painful to implement the sorting in TeX, and many existing names already have non-alphabetized variants.)

The letterspacing possibilities introduced by fontinst and virtual fonts have not yet become sufficiently widespread to make standardization beneficial. Likewise for the many possible ways to generate small caps fonts.

Notes on specific variants, both old and new:


These variants (‘semisans’, ‘bright’, ‘semiserif’, and ‘fax’) were used only for single typefaces, so to conserve variant abbreviations, they now have typeface abbreviations instead. Also, for ‘b’, to avoid too-long names; and for the others, to avoid variant vs. design-size ambiguities.


Since these variants were not actually used in any font names, they are now obsolete and may be reassigned in the future.


These characters begin a two-character encoding variant. Generally, ‘7’ is for 7-bit encodings, ‘8’ is for 8-bit encodings, and ‘9’ is for expertised encodings with or without oldstyle digits (see the ‘x’ item below), but this is not an absolute rule. Also, ‘5’ is presently used for phonetic encodings and ‘6’ for Cyrillic encodings. The ‘9s’ (‘SuperFont’) variant contain all of Adobe, Latin 1, and Expert glyphs, perhaps with slightly different metrics than the original fonts.

For a font to be named with a certain encoding variant, it’s not necessary that all the characters appear in precisely the same positions as in the encoding definition. It’s enough that the usual TeX macros work. In practice, this means that it’s ok for a font to be labelled ‘7t’ if the only difference from Computer Modern is that the ligatures and the ‘lslash’ and ‘Lslash’ characters are different, since it’s impossible to access or change the ligature table from TeX. Standard PostScript fonts don’t have an ‘lslash’ character the way Computer Modern does, but they do have the ‘Lslash’ and ‘lslash’ characters themselves, so the usual TeX \lslash and \Lslash macros can be made to work via ligatures. See the file T1.etx file in the fontinst distribution for details.

If a name does not contain a specific encoding variant, its encoding is unspecified. For example, some of the fonts distributed with Dvips(k) have names like ‘ptmr’ for ‘Times-Roman’; they use the Dvips encoding (see dvips), which is close to (but not the same as) the TeX text encoding (as in Computer Modern Roman). Similarly, the TFM files distributed with Dvilj(k) for the builtin LaserJet 4 fonts have names like ‘cunm’, since these fonts, while compatible with TeX text, contain many additional characters.


These items are needed only because ‘x’ (and possibly ‘j’) followed by a two-character regular variant makes some names too long. That is, ‘9t’ is equivalent in meaning to ‘x7t’, and ‘9d’ is equivalent to ‘jx7t’. (This may not be true for all ‘9x’ encodings, though.)


These variants (indicating Greek and Cyrillic fonts, respectively) are obsolete; future fonts in different scripts should be assigned an appropriate encoding abbreviation. These are not currently standardized, due to ignorance of the appropriate encodings. Please send suggestions for abbreviations to the address in Introduction.


These math-related variants remain for the sake of typeface-specific math encodings, e.g., Lucida. Fonts that use the Computer Modern math encodings should use ‘7m’ (see texmital), ‘7v’ (see texmext), and ‘7y’ (see texmsym).


This is used for several different (but very rare) variants: only the Stone typeface has an “informal” variant, and only a few Monotype fonts have a “schoolbook” variant, with different ‘a’, ‘g’, and ‘y’ shapes.


Included only if no other variants, including encodings, apply, and either the width (see Widths) is not ‘r’ or a design size is present. I.e., ‘r’ is only used as a placeholder. When the normal version of the typeface is sans serif (e.g., Helvetica), ‘r’ should be used when necessary, not ‘s’. Use ‘s’ only when the typeface family has both serif and sans serif variants.


Mittelbach in TUGboat 13(1) suggests that these variants (for ‘sans’ and ‘typewriter’) should be identified as part of the typeface name, because there are few typeface families with these variants. I feel that since they are logically variants, it’s best to name them that way. But ‘LucidaSans’ (see Typefaces) and a few others are exceptions, to avoid too-long names.


8x’ indicates a font in the ‘Expert’ encoding itself. ‘x’ indicates an expertised font, i.e., a composite (virtual) font that includes characters from an ‘8x’ font. And in fact an ‘xee’ sequence is replaced by ‘9e’, to save characters.

Fontname 1 assignments are shown in brackets in the following table, from the file It is organized alphabetically by abbreviation. Each line consists of an abbreviation and either any parts of a PostScript ‘FontName’ which use that abbreviation or the PostScript ‘Encoding’ name.

0 inferior
1 superior
2                                   proportional digits, not tabular
obsolete [3=>7f] Fraction
obsolete [4 fax; now typeface ‘lx’, Lucida Fax]
5 escape for (presently) phonetic encodings
6 escape for (mostly) Cyrillic encodings [was ‘SemiSerif’]
7 escape for (mostly) 7-bit encodings
8 escape for (mostly) 8-bit encodings
9 escape for (presently) expert encodings [was oldstyle digits]
a Alt Arrows Alternative             [was alternate encoding]
obsolete [b bright; now typeface lh, Lucida Bright]
c SmallCaps
d Display Titling Caption Headline TallCaps SwashCaps LombardicCaps Festive
e Engraved Copperplate Elite
f Fraktur Gothic OldEnglish Handtooled (‘gothic’ can also be sans)
g SmallText      lc only, or designed for small sizes [was grooved, as in the IBM logo]
h Shadow
i Italic Kursiv Ital                 text italic
j                                    old-style digits [was invisible]
k Greek                              obsolete
l Outline OpenFace Blanks
m math italic
n Informal Fashion Schlbk            for Stone
o Oblique Obl                        slanted
p Ornaments
obsolete [q=>8t Cork (TeX extended) encoding]
r                                    roman or sans; often omitted, see text
s Gothic                             sans serif
t Monospace                          fixed-width typewriter
u                                    underline or unslanted italic
v MathExtension
w Script Handwritten Swash Calligraphy Cursive Tango Ligature
x built with Adobe expert encoding [was expert-encoded]
y MathSymbol
z Cyrillic                           font-dependent Cyrillic
5a PhoneticAlternate
5i PhoneticIPA
5s sil-IPA
5t TeX-IPA                           Fukui Rei, LaTeX T3
5w TeXAfricanLatin                   wsuipa fonts, LaTeX OT3
5z user
6a T2A
6b Cyrillic part of ISO 8859-5, seven bits
6c T2C
6d Cyrillic CP866 encoding
6g LGR                               Greek font encoding
6i ISO 8859-5
6k Cyrillic KOI8-R encoding
6m Cyrillic Macintosh encoding
6s Storm extra encoding
6t T2B
6w Cyrillic CP1251 encoding
6x X2
6y LCY
6z user
7a A                                 alternate characters only
7c Dfr                               Fraktur
7d OsF OSF                           oldstyle digit encoding
7f Fraction
7k OT2Cyrillic
7m TeXMathItalicEncoding             see texmital
7t                       TeX text encoding (as in Computer Modern Roman)
7v TeXMathExtensionEncoding          see texmext
7y TeXMathSymbolEncoding             see texmsym
7z user
82 GreekKeys
83 Ibycus1
84 Ibycus2
8a StandardEncoding                  Adobe standard encoding, see 8a
8c TeXTextCompanion                  LaTeX TS1
8e CE                                Adobe CE
8f TeXAfricanLatin                   LaTeX T4
8g groff
8i TS0                               Intersection of TS1/Adobe Standard
8m Macintosh standard encoding
8n LM1 Textures
8q encqxoosix                        QX, from GUST
8r TeXBase1Encoding                  (see 8r)
8t ECEncoding CorkEncoding           (see ec), aka tex256.enc
8u XT2Encoding                       cmtt + Latin 2, see xl2.enc
8v TeXVietnamese                     T5
8w Windows 3.1 ANSI encoding
8x Expert                            expert encoding
8y LY1                               texnansi
8z XL2Encoding                       cmr + Latin 2, see xl2.enc
9c expert + Text companion
9d expert + oldstyle digits + Cork
9e expert + Cork
9i TS0X                              Intersection of TS1/Standard/Expert
9o expert + oldstyle digits + TeX text
9s SF                                SuperFont
9t expert + TeX text
9u Unicode-compatible
9x TeXnANSIEncodingX                 texnansx, texnansi without repeats
9z user
-  songti                            for mnm

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