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Until recently LaTeX has used its own font format which has meant that the choice of fonts was limited to those that had been ported or created for use with LaTeX. However, the newer XeLaTeX compiler has built in support for many more font formats, and can use the fonts that come installed with your computer, like Geogria, Times New Roman and Helvetica. ShareLaTeX supports XeLaTeX which means that you are now spoiled for choice when picking your font!

Using a custom font

Let’s see an example in action. The ‘Times New Roman’ font is a classic, but not one that we can distribute due to it’s license. However, this is probably present on your system, and you can upload the font file to ShareLaTeX. You’re looking for a file called something like ‘Times New Roman.ttf’ or ‘Times New Roman.otf’. Depending on your operating system you’ll find this in the following directory:

  • Mac OS X: /Library/Fonts
  • Windows: Windows/Fonts
  • Linux: /usr/share/fonts/

Upload your font file to a ShareLaTeX project:

Uploading a font to ShareLaTeX

We need to make sure that we’re using the XeLaTeX compiler, so set this in your project settings:

Setting the compiler to XeLaTeX

Now to include the font in your document, you must the fontspec package:

\setmainfont[Ligatures=TeX]{Times New Roman.ttf}
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

When you compile your document, you should see the text in the Times New Roman font. Here is an example

Where to find fonts

There are many freely available TrueType (.ttf) and OpenType (.otf) fonts that you can use with ShareLaTeX. The Google WebFonts collection contains many free to use fonts.

Advanced Examples

A popular open font is Linux Libertine, and you can find an example of this being used with ShareLaTeX here. The example also show how XeLaTeX has built in support for accented characters, and how to use italic and bold fonts.

I hope that you will go forth and explore the delightful world of fonts that are available to use with ShareLaTeX.

Posted by James Allen on 02 Apr 2013