LaTeX forum ⇒ Fonts & Character SetsWhich font is best for a physics book?

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Cham
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Which font is best for a physics book?

Postby Cham » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:18 pm

I discovered yesterday that the lmodern font has some size problems with maths symbols (most notably the parenthesis and integral signs), especially when the font size used is 11pt. Loading that font with a nomath option solves this:
Code: [Select all] [Expand/Collapse] [Download] ({untitled.tex})
  1. \usepackage[nomath]{lmodern}


I was using lmodern in almost all of my documents before. I didn't noticed the size problems with 10pt and 12pt font. I'm now wondering about the usefullness of that font, which has no documentation available. I'm now reconsidering that font and may select another one.

I believe that the default font used by LaTeX is "computer modern", from AMS. lmodern is supposed to be an "enhenced version" from an old version of computer modern (I'm not sure of this).

So what font should be best, for a large book on physics full of equations, written in French (or langages with accents) and 11pt font size?

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Stefan Kottwitz
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Postby Stefan Kottwitz » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:42 pm

I would have chosen Latin Modern too. Yes, it's said that it's an improved version of Computer Modern. Though some symbols may not fit good enough for you. Well, you could use the default good old Computer Modern instead - it has been designed to be good with maths. Does it look better in the problem cases?

Charter is pretty ok too. It can be used for example with newtxmath. Take a look here, at the end of page 2: xcharter-doc.pdf

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Cham
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Postby Cham » Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:38 pm

Thanks for the suggestion, Stefan. The Charter font is nice, but I think it fits better for screen presentations (Beamer, PowerPoint like presentations...).

I think I'll stick with Latin Modern, with its nomath option enabled. I don't see much differences between this font and the default AMS font (i.e Computer Modern), except maybe some tiny horizontal spacing variations.

I'm baffled as to why the lmodern font has vertical size problems in 11pt (especially the \big, \bigl, \bigr parenthesis), while it's perfect in 12pt (and also with 10pt, I think). It hasn't been updated after all these years? Or is there something wrong with using 11pt font size for a book?

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Stefan Kottwitz
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Postby Stefan Kottwitz » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:38 am

Just ensure that you have the cm-super package installed, for improved Computer Modern with T1 encoding.

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Ijon Tichy
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Postby Ijon Tichy » Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:14 am

With T1 font encoding it is not longer Computer Modern (aka CM), but European Computer Modern (aka EC). This is more different from Computer Modern than Latin Modern is. And esp. small sizes are not good.

However, I do not really understand your problem, because:
Code: [Select all] [Expand/Collapse] [Download] (text-lmodern11.tex)
  1. \documentclass[11pt]{article}
  2. \usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
  3. \usepackage{lmodern}
  4. \begin{document}
  5. \[(a) \big( a \big) \bigg( a \bigg) \Big( a \Big) \Bigg( a \Bigg)\]
  6. \[\{a\} \big\{ a \big\} \bigg\{ a \bigg\} \Big\{ a \Big\} \Bigg\{ a \Bigg\}\]
  7. \[[a] \big[ a \big] \bigg[ a \bigg] \Big[ a \Big] \Bigg[ a \Bigg]\]
  8. \end{document}

Results in:
Image
and the same without \usepackage{lmodern} result in:
Image
and without \usepackage[T1]{fontenc} and \usepackage{lmodern} it is:
Image
They are all very similar. So if I compare Latin Modern 11pt with Computer Modern 11pt there isn't a difference in sizes of the parenthesis and in comparison with European Computer modern, the difference is not very significant. And also option nomath for lmodern does not change a lot, because it would simply use the European Computer Modern Math in 11pt. But if this is the wanted result, there is not really an argument against using this option. So just do it.

BTW: It is not really documented, that \big( is larger than (. The documentation more or less says. that \Bigg > \bigg > \Big > \big. For example TeX by Topic explains:
As an approximate measure, the Big delimiters are one and a half times as large
(11.5pt) as big delimiters; bigg ones are twice (14.5pt), and Bigg ones are two and
a half times as large (17.5pt).

The given pt-sizes are for a base size of 10pt (default of plainTeX). No word about a relation to the unsized delimiters.

And indeed even with other fonts, e.g., charter or libertine or libertinus, in 11pt the ( and the \big( etc. are the same size. So it is not characteristic for Latin Modern.

There is a tiny difference if you'd use 10pt:
Code: [Select all] [Expand/Collapse] [Download] (text-lmodern10.tex)
  1. \documentclass[10pt]{article}
  2. \usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
  3. \usepackage{lmodern}
  4. \begin{document}
  5. \[(a) \big( a \big) \bigg( a \bigg) \Big( a \Big) \Bigg( a \Bigg)\]
  6. \[\{a\} \big\{ a \big\} \bigg\{ a \bigg\} \Big\{ a \Big\} \Bigg\{ a \Bigg\}\]
  7. \[[a] \big[ a \big] \bigg[ a \bigg] \Big[ a \Big] \Bigg[ a \Bigg]\]
  8. \end{document}

produces:
Image
but again not only with Latin Modern. You'd get almost the same with Computer Modern or European Computer Modern or several other fonts.

The Latin Modern is very compatible to Computer Modern. If you need a size between \big and \bigg you should use \Big that I've shown in the examples too.

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Postby rahulchoudhary » Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:51 am

Hi Stefan,

Please comment on FF DIN (1995) for a physics book. also, San Francisco Pro (2014) and Helvetica Neue (1983), these fonts for regular text that may be combined. Seems like Apple switched again to Helvetica Neue this year.

Feels a nice sans serif font for text would look good in ay kind of book or display, in English at least. Used a DIN (huge) font for the number of my old man's house once, probably DIN 1468. numbers like 124 look slim and minimal in them, and so does text in general.

2cents,
Rahul


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