Simplefonts - Old Content

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simplefonts is a third–party module written by Wolfgang Schuster.

It has two main advantages over the standard font handling in ConTeXt:

  • the interface is much easier to use.

Installing simplefonts

  • If you’re using LuaTeX along with TeX Live, simplefonts is already installed. --modules="t-simplefonts"

Setting the system font directory

If you want to use system font within ConTeXt, the path to these fonts must be known to ConTeXt.

You have to set the OSFONTDIR variable to the path where your system font are located. If you use ConTeXt Standalone, please follow these instructions.

In Linux, the standard value is:

   OSFONTDIR= /usr/share/fonts//;$HOME/.fonts

In Windows, the following line is to be added (slashes are fine, no need for backslashes):

   OSFONTDIR= c:/{windows,winnt,winnt35}/fonts//

On Mac, here is a value:

   OSFONTDIR = /Library/Fonts//;/System/Library/Fonts;$HOME/Library/Fonts

(If you have font in non–standard locations or use another operating system, all you have to do is to add the path to the OSFONTDIR variable.)

In TeX Live, you have to add this variable (or update it) in texmf.cnf (find it with kpsewhich texmf.cnf).

Basic usage

Here is the most basic sample:

\setmainfont[TeX Gyre Termes]
\setsansfont[TeX Gyre Heros]
\setmonofont[TeX Gyre Cursor]

Serif typeface: regular, {\em italic}, {\bf bold} and {\bf\em bold italic} fonts.

{\ss Sans--serif typeface: regular, {\em italic}, {\bf bold} and {\bf\em bold italic} fonts.}

{\tt Monospace typeface: regular, {\em italic}, {\bf bold} and {\bf\em bold italic} fonts.}

It isn’t required to define size for 12pt, since it is the default value.

Mixing fonts

In some cases, you might want to mix fonts (it is up to you whether they really match or not).

Here is the way to do it (I know that fonts don’t match):

\setmainfont[TeX Gyre Termes][italicfont=TeX Gyre Bonum-Italic,
boldfont=TeX Gyre Adventor-Bold, bolditalicfont=TeX Gyre Pagella-Bold Italic]

Serif typeface: regular, {\em italic}, {\bf bold} and {\bf\em bold italic} fonts.

Font fallback mechanism

We can have documents in which we use typefaces that lack some characters or a whole character range. In that case, font fallbacks can be defined.

The example shows how to get Greek characters for TeX Gyre Pagella:

\setmainfontfallback[Gentium][range={greekandcoptic, greekextended},
\setmainfont[TeX Gyre Pagella]

English text. δύσκολα τὰ καλά.

{\em English text. δύσκολα τὰ καλά.}

{\bf English text. δύσκολα τὰ καλά.}

{\bf\em English text. δύσκολα τὰ καλά.}

Two things to be considered:

  • range can assume the following values: any of the block names in char-ini.lua, or a manual range such as 0x003B1-0x003B6.
  • force=yes should be enabled, unless you want the characters to have their glyphs from the original font replaced with the ones from the fallback font.

Defining other typefaces and fonts

simplefonts has two commands to define fonts and two commands to define typefaces (Times Regular, Times Italics, Times Bold and Times Bold Italic are four different fonts, but a single typeface):

  • \definesimplefont, defines a font for the use in headers or other style elements.
  • \simplefont, defines a font for inline use.
  • \definesimplefonttypeface, defines a single typeface.
  • \simplefonttypeface, can define a typeface set (such as serif, sans–serif, monospaced, caligraphy and others).

Handling special cases

If the font in question has an unusual naming scheme (or wrong names) and/or it is missing some features, it may be necessary to specify the names to look for and the font features to implement.

Faking italics and bold fonts

As a general rule, it is not a good idea to use faked italics and bold fonts. A slanted font is by no means an italic one (at least, in the vast majority of typefaces). And faked bold fonts don’t look the same as real bold fonts (a similar consideration could be made about small caps).

Again, it would be the exception, rather than the rule, where this suggested method outputs a reasonable result. If you use ConTeXt for its high–quality typographical performance, using faked fonts can ruin that performance.

Wolfgang Schuster proposed the following code to get slanted and fake bold fonts:


\definefontfeature[fakebolditalic][default][slant=.25, extend=2]
\setmainfont[TeX Gyre Pagella]

\definesimplefonttypeface[fakingall][TeX Gyre Pagella][italicfont={* Regular}, boldfont={* Regular}, bolditalicfont={* Regular}, italicfeatures=fakeitalic,
boldfeatures=fakebold, bolditalicfeatures=fakebolditalic]


Four fonts, real typeface: regular, {\em italic}, {\bf bold} and {\bf\em bold italic} fonts.

{\fakingall One font, faked typeface: regular, {\em italic  (actually slanted)} (actually slanted), {\bf bold (actually stretched)} and {\bf\em bold and slanted (actually slanted and stretched)} fonts.}