Question For Readers Concerning TeX/LaTeX

Why do people who use TeX/LaTeX to create documents almost invariably use the shittiest most hideous fucken typefaces?


  1. --bill says

    Because we’re mathematicians and can’t be bothered with such prosaic issues.

  2. dean says

    Because of the long history of it being difficult to change typefaces from the default. Now, with xetex and luatex, making changes is easy, but many people are complacent.
    And, let’s face it, having the knack to see when text fonts and math fonts match well takes time, and that’s something many people don’t want to do.

    I will add that, in my opinion, even when I use the boring defaults my latex documents look much better than any of those my colleagues generate with Word

  3. socle says

    Computer Modern typefaces aren’t perfect, but they look waaayy the fucke better than just about anything else in documents with lots of math and/or symbols.

  4. Ysanne says

    WTF is wrong with those typefaces, e.g. in comparison with how shitty a Word document typeset in Times New Roman looks? The CM fonts were actually designed with an understanding of font design and typesetting, and the fact that they don’t look exactly like the Windows default fonts doesn’t make them bad. Also, there’s this tiny fact that hardly any other free (or at least affordable) fonts have a proper set of well-designed maths symbols.
    Sure, if there’s a choice, I’ll pick the pretty Springer journal reprint of my papers over my own CM preprint, but the latter still look infinitely better than any of my virologist and biologist friends’ Word preprints.

  5. colinday says

    What default fonts of an alternative document-preparation system would you consider to be better?

  6. colinday says

    Fair enough, but what percentage of people use nondefault fonts in TeX/LaTeX? I pretty much use the defaults.

  7. Ysanne says

    Seeing that people usually don’t recognize the TeX-ness when you use a Times variant, ruling out the standard CM font would leave the Sans-Serif variants, which looks ok and basically no-one uses for paragraphs of text anyway, and hardly that less-than-perfect Palatino variant that a few people use for non-math text, probably because they don’t realize that Palatino’s charm on small pages doesn’t translate to A4 size.
    However, that’s still not enough people to warrant “almost invariably” (probably not even enough to appear in the sample encountered by non-mathematicians), so I strongly suspect that CPP’s beef is with CM.

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