What's wrong with `\newfont`?

If all else fails, you can specify a font using the LaTeX \newfont command. The font so specified doesn't fit into the LaTeX font selection mechanism, but the technique can be tempting under several circumstances. The command is merely the thinnest of wrappers around the \font primitive, and doesn't really fit with LaTeX at all. A simple, but really rather funny, example of the problems it poses, may be seen in:

snippet.latex
\documentclass[10pt]{article}
\begin{document}
\newfont{\myfont}{cmr17 scaled 2000}
\myfont
\LaTeX
\end{document}

(the reader is encouraged to try this). The “A” of \LaTeX pretty much disappears: LaTeX chooses the size on the “A” according to its idea of the font size (10pt), but positions it according to the dimensions of \myfont, which is more than three times that size.

Another \myfont example arises from an entirely different source. The mini-document:

snippet.latex
\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
\newfont{\myfont}{ecrm1000}
{\myfont voil\`a}
\end{document}

gives you “German low double quotes” (under the “a”) in place of the grave accent. This happens because ecrm1000 is in a different font encoding than LaTeX is expecting - if you use the LaTeX fontenc package to select the EC fonts, all these tiresome encoding issues are solved for you, behind the scenes.

There does however remain a circumstance when you will be tempted to use \newfont - viz., to get a font size that doesn't fall into the Knuth standard set of sizes: LaTeX (by default) won't allow you to use such a size. Don't despair: see the answer “arbitrary font sizes”.

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