It's a light post this week, but something that may be helpful to anyone writing a LaTeX document who wants to get the most out of fonts.

Ampersands are actually a ligature for the letters E and T. The & character looks interesting in different fonts, as some show this more clearly than others.

LaTeX has a number of fonts available, although the default Computer Modern looks quite nice, in my opinion.

To demonstrate these two points, I made a short LaTeX document (see below) that prints ampersands in different fonts.

Results:

Ampersands in LaTeX

The first character in each line is from the Roman font family, then San Serif, then teletype/monospace.

My favourites out of these fonts are:

  • Bookman (1st in 3rd line)
  • Zapf Chancery (1st in 4th line)—this one shows the combination of E and T most clearly
  • New Century (6th line)
  • Palatino (7th line)

Here is the document:

% Font demonstration with ampersands in LaTeX 

\documentclass[12 pt,landscape]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[dvips]{geometry}

%Start with the CM (Computer Modern) fonts

\renewcommand*\rmdefault{cmr} %roman
\renewcommand*\sfdefault{cmss} %san serif
\renewcommand*\ttdefault{cmtt} %teletype


\begin{document}

%Each row will have ampersands from the roman, san serif, and teletype font families (in order)

\centering

\large \rmfamily \& \sffamily \& \ttfamily \& 

%Switch to Latin Modern fonts

\renewcommand*\rmdefault{lmr} %roman
\renewcommand*\sfdefault{lmss} %san serif
\renewcommand*\ttdefault{lmtt} %teletype

\large \rmfamily \& \sffamily \& \ttfamily \& 

%Switch to Bookman and Avant Garde and Courier

\renewcommand*\rmdefault{pbk} %roman
\renewcommand*\sfdefault{pag} %san serif
\renewcommand*\ttdefault{pcr} %teletype

\large \rmfamily \& \sffamily \& \ttfamily \& 

%Switch to Zapf Chancery and Helvetica

\renewcommand*\rmdefault{pzc} %roman
\renewcommand*\sfdefault{phv} %san serif

\large \rmfamily \& \sffamily \&

%All the remaining fonts are in the Roman family: Charter, New Century, Palatino, Times

\renewcommand*\rmdefault{bch} 
\large \rmfamily \&

\renewcommand*\rmdefault{pnc} 
\large \rmfamily \&

\renewcommand*\rmdefault{ppl} 
\large \rmfamily \&

\renewcommand*\rmdefault{ptm} 
\large \rmfamily \&

\vfill

\end{document}

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