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calligraphic M


Licence: standard LaTeX licence

The following fonts have the standard LaTeX licence. The former send-me-a-postcard licence was not understood and there is a too few people who are really interested in MetaFont design and programming. None of these fonts is frozen. I change things from time to time. Conversion to other formats (postscript, type 1) does not concern me. Most of these fonts would loose most of their interest (if any) doing such conversions without hints. Furthermore, I am not concerned by installation.


Mbb series, aka mbboard

mbbdigits and even much more!

Those blackboard fonts are at the origin of my MetaFont programming. They received a very special care and should be of quite high quality. It is quite stable (never say never). The two main series are mbb (blackboard light fonts) and mbbx (blackboard bold extended fonts). Other fonts are by now oddities.

Download State Description
mbboard0.0 old space-time initial distribution, january 2000
mbboard0.1 old april 2000
mbboard0.2 old december 2000
mbboard0.3 old june 2001
mbboard0.4 hot! last distribution by now, october 2001 (posted on CTAN)
mbbtest hot! compressed postscript documentation, october 2001

On a teTeX distribution one may drop every source file (.mf) in a subdirectory of $TEXMF/fonts/source/public. I've never tried... For individual use on a Unix system, create $HOME/metafont/pk, $HOME/metafont/tfm, $HOME/metafont/source. Move then the whole content of archive's source directory in $HOME/metafont/source. In $HOME/metafont/source, execute COMPILE. Move texinput files where TeX can find them. The last thing to do is to set up environment variables (see at the bottom of this page).


Mathabx series

Here is one of the largest sets of mathematical symbols ever programmed in MetaFont. These fonts are supposed to be very high quality fonts even if some symbols may have to be designed anew. Encoding is not quite stable but input packages free people of this matter. We decline any responsability about type 1 versions or such: conversions certainly don't care of rasterization, i.e. they may not be hinted. By the way, look at Kohsaku Hotta's web page about mathabx for up-to-date conversions.

Download State Description
mathabx-1.0 hot! 1.0 distribution (may 2011). It should work. You can complain if you need (only about TeX programming, METAFONT programming, fonts' design; installation is not my problem at all). (The CTAN's archive has been updated at may 15, 2005...)
mathtest hot! compressed postscript documentation, may 2011

Mcalligra, aka Calligra iMproved

The Calligra font is for long available on CTAN but it seems that nobody can use it properly as a true TeX font. I changed some things in the code of this font in order to obtain the following:

Download State Description
mcalligra hot! first unstable distribution, november 2001. Provided with no TeX nor LaTeX input file (not so complicated). Well, I've seen many things that could be improved since I've put this stuff of the web. So changes will be made before the end of the year.
mcaltest hot! compressed postscript documentation, november 2001


Mxy series

The mxy series are very simple fonts designed quite rapidly. It's just fun to use them. They will be extended one day.
Download State Description
mxy hot! first unstable distribution, november 2002. Provided with no LaTeX input file (not so complicated).
mxytest hot! compressed postscript documentation, november 2002



Mgrey font

That's not a tremendous font. Just grey squares made for drawing pixmaps...


How-to: don't ask me more!

Basic information

A MetaFont program is a collection of files whose suffix is generally mf. Theses files are called the source of the MetaFont fonts. They contain the description of the drawings and of the size of every character in the related fonts. These are human written programs whose syntax is quite close from pascal (hence not so complicated).
The interpreter of MetaFont programs is METAFONT (it is also the name of the language). It is invocated via the mf command. There are 3 kinds of output files: the well-known log-files, and the not-so-well-known tfm and gf-files.

tfm-files (Tex Font Metrics)
describe the metrics of the fonts: bounding box of every characters, ligaturing and kerning properties, relative dimensions. They are directly used by TeX when it formats a document and they are mode or resolution-independent.
gf-files (Generic Fonts)
are the bitmap pictures corresponding to every characters. In the MetaFont program, characters have an almost resolution-free description. Thus their description leads to a digitalized output (resolution, or mode-dependent) that can be visualized on the screen or printed.
pk-files (PacKed fonts)
gf-files are non-compressed bitmap images. That's why there are pk-files (Packed Fonts). Both can be used for printing or visualising, but pk-files are prefered. Conversion is done via the gftopk command (there is also a pktogf...). Of course, these are also mode or resolution-dependent.

Take a look at the METAFONTbook to get deeper but clearer information.


Since META-description of a font within a MetaFont program is almost resolution (mode)-independent, one has to specify a mode to produce bitmap font adaptated to a specific printer device or screen. Those modes are defined by aware users and usually defined in the TeXMF distribution. Typical invocation is

mf "\mode=mymode; mag:=mymag; input"

where mymode is a pre-defined mode (typically cx for 300dpi-laser printer, or ljfour for 600dpi-laser printer), mymag is the magnification or magstep (typically mag:=1 , or mag:=1.2, or mag:=1.44), myfontXX is the name of the font (typically cmr10, ...) and the corresponding MetaFont source file.

The former command will produce 3 files: myfontXX.log, myfontXX.tfm and myfontXX.YYYgf, where YYY is a number equal to the resolution times magnification (typically 300, 360, 432, or 600, 720, 864). To generate pk-file just type

gftopk myfontXX.YYYgf

which produces myfontXX.YYYpk. What remains to do is just to clean garbage (myfontXX.log and myfontXX.YYYgf) and to move the other files to some place where TeX-related programs can find them.

Environment variables

More to come...

Installation with SuperUser's privileges

We will deal only with standard TeX distributions as the ones one can find in the TeXlive cd-rom. So, it'll aply to the TETeX (Unix and Linux), MikTeX (W.nd.w$), OzTeX (MacOS). Here are the things to do:

  1. Get the archive of the font you want to install, unpack it in a temporary directory.
  2. Find the root of the TeXMF tree in your system: it is a directory that should be named texmf and whose subdirectories are for instance tex, metafont, metapost, fonts, etc. The TeXMF root will be denoted by ../texmf.
  3. In the directory ../texmf/fonts/source/public/ create a new directory whose name matches the name of the fonts you want to install, say ../texmf/fonts/source/public/mathabx or ../texmf/fonts/source/public/mbboard.
  4. Move all the files that are in your temporary directory (or in its subdirectories) to the newly created one.
  5. If the archive contains TeX or LaTeX style or input files, move them into the directory ../texmf/tex/generic/misc (for instance).
  6. Job is almost completed! This will update the database of your TeXMF distribution to take into account the newly installed files.

Installation as a poor simple user

This how-to is intended for a user of Unix-like system with no root privilege. Such a person may want to install new TeX fonts on is own account. What is described here is what I've done myself.

More to come...

Copyright: HTML's texts or graphics are free of any copyright, they are copyleft. TeX programs are also copyleft but one can send a postcard. MetaPost programs have just a feel-free-to-send-me-a-postcard licence. MetaFont programs have the standard LaTeX licence.
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Anthony Phan,
Département de Mathématiques, SP2MI,
Boulevard Marie et Pierre Curie, Téléport 2,
BP 30179, F-86962 Futuroscope-Chasseneuil cedex