Thursday, August 6, 2009

XeLaTeX 1,2,3...

I thought I'd explain how to get started with Xelatex as a three step process.

Firstly though..... why Xelatex?
  1. For arbitrary text and maths fonts in your document.
  2. Correct ligatures, kerning and other font features. This is only achieved in Latex using the microtype package, it is the default in Xelatex. See Beauty of Latex article.
  3. Easier to use arbitrary fonts.
  4. Unicode (UTF-8) encoding for special characters like international accents etc.
Step 1: Installing and Using Xelatex
: Xelatex can be found in Miktex 2.7 or above. Simply download and install Miktex Basic and install the xelatex package from the package manager. If any package is needed later on, Miktex will download and install it for you.
Linux: Install Texlive 2008 or above. Note that all versions of Ubuntu 9.04 and earlier have Texlive 2007. Download the Installer or the ISO file, burn the disc and run the install script ("install-tl"). See Texlive site for more detailed instructions. Go here to use Kile with Ubuntu after installing Texlive 2008.

Step 2: Using Xelatex
Using Xelatex is the same as using Latex. New to Latex? See this all you need guide. Create a new file and insert the following text into it.
%!TEX TS-program = xelatex
%!TEX encoding = UTF-8 Unicode

%XeLaTeX packages
\usepackage{fontspec} %Font package

\title{Your Title}
\author{Your Name}



\section{Section Title}
Your text

\subsection{Subsection Title}
Your Text
Save the file with any name. Then using the command line type "xelatex [FileName].tex" where you file is, or in a text editor like SciTE or Texmaker click on the build button. Open and view the PDF file to see the result.

Step 3: Installing and Changing the Font
Changing the font is easy in Xelatex, just add the line "\setmainfont[Mapping=tex-text]{Fontname}" in your preamble (the space before the begin document line) with "Fontname" being the name of the Font. Any font installed on your system is applicable. See my post on Xelatex Thesis Choices for example of using Minion Pro fonts. For instance "Times New Roman" is comon on most systems. Use can see the fonts installed on your system using OpenOffice or any other font application.
Installing a font is easy too. Find and download a font you like (the hard part), see my font survey post to get some free and open ones, and extract if in archive.
Windows Vista: Right click on the TrueType (ttf) file(s) or OpenType (otf) file(s). Then select install. Thats it! To determine the name of the font, either look for it in OpenOffice, Wordpad or MS Office. Or double click to preview and the name is given in the preview.
Ubuntu Linux: Copy the TrueType (ttf) file(s) or OpenType (otf) file(s) to "/usr/share/fonts/opentype". If there is no opentype directory, create it.

That's it... you're good to go. Post any questions below.

Shakes - L3mming

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