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Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

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Recently my struggle to find out some handwritten fonts for some document led me to this question.

What are the various packages that give nice looking handwritten and / or calligraphic fonts?

I know that the experts here will come out with all possible list. The idea here is to make this a reference for people like me who search for fonts like this (I have struggled, let others not). I will add an entry here:

\documentclass{article} \usepackage[T1]{fontenc} \usepackage{frcursive} \usepackage{calligra} \newcommand{\setfont}[2]{{\fontfamily{#1}\selectfont #2}} \begin{document} \setfont{frc}{This is frcursive font.}\\ \setfont{calligra}{This is Calligra font.} \end{document} 

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

I request experts to kindly add all possible details on various such free fonts to be served as a reference for people like me please.

Answers

All this information is right there on The LaTeX Font Catalogue: Calligraphical and Handwritten fonts. For every font, there is an explanation how to use it. Hence, I don't think we need to maintain a list of such fonts here because there already is an excellent database with a maintainer who'll gladly accept your suggestions for improvement.

As for the question about the fonts being "free", About The LaTeX Font Catalogue says:

The license of the fonts vary, but are all free. Note that the fonts not necessarily are free to distribute, and some fonts are available for non-commercial use only.

Anyways, here's how you could use the four fonts that come first alphabetically, i.e. the ones that I mentioned in my comment. I'm using MiKTeX 2.9 with on-the-fly installation enabled. You might have to call updmap after installing a font. If a specific font doesn't work, feel free to ask a new question about it.

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{emerald}% 1
\usepackage{aurical}% 2
\usepackage{pbsi}% 3
\usepackage{calligra}% 4

\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}

\usepackage{lipsum}% for filler text

\begin{document}

\section{Augie} {\ECFAugie\lipsum[4]}
\section{Auriocus Kalligraphicus} {\Fontauri\lipsum[4]}
\section{BrushScriptX-Italic} {\bsifamily\lipsum[4]}
\section{Calligra} {\calligra\lipsum[4]}

\end{document}

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

If you really want to dive into using a variety of fonts with LaTeX, I strongly recommend you use the awesome fontspec package in combination with either XeTeX or LuaTeX. fontspec allows you to select any open type font (OTF) that you have installed on your machine using a command like:

\newfontfamily{\Segoe}{Segoe Script}

You can find lots of handwriting or calligraphy fonts on sites like FontSquirrel, e.g. here or here.

I also recommend you check out the documentation of the fontspec package because it demonstrates advanced uses of open type features (e.g. stylistic variants), especially with the Zapfino font.

There exists a handwritten font which realizes the exactly connecting letters without compromises. This is the font slabikar generated by Metafont, see the article about it.

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

This font is called slabikar because this is handwritten font used for pupils in the first class when they are learning to read and write in Czech republic. The slabikar is typical first textbook for the pupils.

I have made this font 20 years before and I am unable to find the similar principles in any other handwritten font. Only Metafont is able to do it because it implements generalized ligatures. These ligatures inserts the fragments between letters and at the boundary of the words automatically, so the connection between letters can be absolutely smooth. See the word "rozvažte", which can be written normally as rozvažte in the TeX source but the output automatically adds the special fragments before the word, after the word and between letters:

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

Note the final little fragment (for example) which ensures that the stoke of the word ends exactly at the ex height.

There are many variants of letters automatically chosen for various connections, see the letter s:

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

This is very good advertisement for TeX because none another typesetting system is able to deal with generalized ligatures. Some professionals tried to convert this font slabikar to the OTF using OTF features but without success so far. But TeX is able to do it 30 yers.

I suggest to see here first: http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/calligraphicalfonts.html

Google Web Fonts has a good number of handwriting fonts (I see 99 families so far, when selecting only the “Handwriting” filter). All are freely licensed and can be downloaded from the Google Code Project to be used with desktop applications (despite the name, they are regular fonts). They can of course be used out of box with XeTeX and LuaTeX, but with some effort you can istall them for PDFTeX as well (following the general TrueType and OpenType installation methods).

One font that is good for such applications is the zapf chancery. Here is an example adapted from the link to work as a minimal:

\documentclass[danish,a4paper,11pt]{scrartcl}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{babel,lipsum}
\usepackage{slantsc}
\usepackage{array}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\setkomafont{subsection}{\usefont{T1}{fvm}{m}{n}}
\setkomafont{section}{\usefont{T1}{fvs}{b}{n}\Large}
\setcounter{secnumdepth}{0}
\pagestyle{empty}
\usepackage{chancery}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}

\begin{document}
\section*{Zapf Chancery}
\subsection*{\textbackslash rmfamily}
\normalfont\rmfamily
\lipsum[1]
\subsection*{\textbackslash itshape}
\normalfont\itshape
\lipsum[2]
\end{document}

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

A good starting point is, as already stated, the google font catalog.

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

One nice site to download commercial free fonts is fontsquirrel.com. Font quality is here in general good.

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

The open font library provides a small amount of commercial free and open source fonts.

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

Another site is dafont.com. Fonts are not always commercial free, though. Quality varies.

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

Fontspace.com has a huge array of fonts. Quality varies.

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

Fontspace has as well useful links to other free font sites:

  • On snot and fonts, which is somewhat confusing Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX
  • 1001freefonts. Fonts are mostly non-commercial free. Similar to dafont Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX
  • Free-fonts. Quality is sometimes dubious and licenses are unclear. Has no font catalog as such Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

Urbanfonts advertises freeware fonts, but specifies that «[s]ome fonts provided are trial versions of full versions and may not allow embedding unless a commercial license is purchased or may contain a limited character set».

Hand written fonts in LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX

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