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TeX Utilities

There are many TeX font utilities. For TeX related questions, I direct you to comp.text.tex or the Info-TeX mailing list. I will happily list any utilities here that the comp.fonts public feels should be present. I am listing MetaFont because it is the obvious font-specific component of TeX and PKtoSFP because it allows anyone to use PS2PK to create LaserJet softfonts.

Liam R. E. Quin is the original author of the MetaFont section. It has been hacked at a bit by norm to make it fit the tone of the comp.fonts FAQ. Assume that norm is responsible for any errors, not Liam.


About MetaFont:

Metafont is a programming language for describing fonts. It was written by Donald Knuth and is documented in

  Computers & Typesetting/C: The METAFONTbook
  Knuth, Donald E.
  Addison Wesley, 1986
  ISBN 0-201-13445-4, or 0-201-13444-6 (soft cover)
  Library access: Z250.8.M46K58, or 686.2'24, or 85-28675.

A font written in MetaFont is actually a computer program which, when run, will generate a bitmap (`raster') for a given typeface at a given size, for some particular device.

What do you need in order to use the fonts:

You cannot print the MetaFont fonts directly (unless you want a listing of the program, that is). Instead, you must generate a bitmap font and use that to print something.

If you are using TeX, the sequence of steps is something like this:

MF to MetaFont to GF
Convert a MetaFont program into a bitmapped font. Also produces a TFM file.
MF to MetaFont to TFM
Covnert a MetaFont program into a TFM file. Also produces a GF bitmapped font.
GF to GFtoPK to PK
Convert a GF bitmapped font into a compressed PK font.
TEX + TFM to TeX to DVI
Produce a device independent output file.
DVI + PK to dvi driver to output format
Produce a device-specific output file (or preview).

The above steps are idealized. In reality, you have to make sure that the fonts get installed in the correct places and you may have to adjust description files, etc. The friendly folks on comp.text.tex can probably get it staightened out for you if you can't find a local guru.

If you are not using TeX, it's almost impossible to predict. At some point in the above sequence, you'll insert some other conversion program and proceed differently. Here, for example, is how you might use TeX fonts with WordPerfect and a LaserJet printer.

PK to PKtoSFP to SFP
Convert a TeX PK file into an HP LaserJet softfont.

SFP to SFP2Auto to TFM
Make HP AutoFont Tagged Font Metric file.

SFP + HP AutoFont TFM to PTR to Installed in WP
Install the new font in WordPerfect.

Use WordPerfect as you normally would.

Excerpted from The comp.fonts FAQ, Copyright © 1992-96 by Norman Walsh