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.


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}

%Start with the CM (Computer Modern) fonts

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


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


\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

\large \rmfamily \&

\large \rmfamily \&

\large \rmfamily \&

\large \rmfamily \&