autoinst man page

autoinst — wrapper around the LCDF TypeTools, for installing and using OpenType fonts in (La)TeX.


autoinst [options] fontfile(s)


Eddie Kohler's LCDF TypeTools are superb tools for installing  OpenType fonts in LaTeX, but they can be hard to use:  they need many, often long, command lines  and don't generate the fd and sty files LaTeX needs. autoinst simplifies the use of the TypeTools for font installation by generating and executing all commands for otftotfm and by creating and installing all necessary fd and sty files.

Given a family of font files (in otf or ttf format), autoinst will create several LaTeX font families:

Of course, if your fonts don't contain italics, oldstyle digits, small caps  etc., the corresponding shapes and families are not created. In addition, the creation of most families and shapes can be controlled  by the user (see "Command-Line Options" below).

These families use the FontPro project's naming scheme:  <FontFamily>-<Suffix>, where <Suffix> is:


proportional (i.e., figures have varying widths) lining figures


tabular (i.e., all figures have the same width) lining figures


proportional oldstyle figures


tabular oldstyle figures


superior characters (note that most fonts have only an incomplete set of  superior characters: digits, some punctuation and the letters abdeilmnorst; normal forms are used for other characters)


inferior characters; usually only digits and some punctuation, normal forms for other characters







The individual fonts are named <FontName>-<suffix>-<shape>-<enc>, where <suffix> is the same as above (but in lowercase), <shape> is either empty, "sc", "swash" or "titling", and <enc> is the encoding (also in lowercase). A typical name in this scheme would be "FiraSans-Light-osf-sc-ly1".

On the choice of text encoding

By default, autoinst generates text fonts with OT1, T1 and LY1 encodings, and the generated style files use LY1 as the default text encoding. LY1 has been chosen over T1 because it has some empty slots to accommodate the additional ligatures found in many OpenType fonts. Other encodings can be chosen using the -encoding option  (see "Command-Line Options" below).

Using the fonts in your LaTeX documents

autoinst generates a style file for using the fonts in LaTeX documents, named <FontFamily>.sty. This style file also takes care of loading the fontenc and textcomp packages. To use the fonts, add the command "\usepackage{<FontFamily>}" to the preamble of your document.

This style file defines a number of options:

"lining", "oldstyle", "tabular", "proportional"

Choose which figure style to use.  The defaults are "oldstyle" and "proportional" (if available).


Scale the font by a factor of <number>. E.g., to increase the size of the font by 5%, use  "\usepackage[scale=1.05]{<FontFamily>}".  May also be spelled "scaled".

This option is only available when you have the xkeyval package installed.

"light", "medium", "book", "text", "regular"

Select the weight that LaTeX will use as the "regular" weight;  the default is "regular".

"heavy", "ultrablack", "extrablack", "black", "ultrabold", "extrabold", "demibold", "semibold", "bold"

Select the weight that LaTeX will use as the "bold" weight;  the default is "bold".

The previous two groups of options will only work if you have the mweights package installed.

The style file will also try to load the fontaxes package  (available on CTAN), which gives easy access to various font shapes and styles. Using the machinery set up by fontaxes, the generated style file  defines a number of commands (which take the text to be typeset as argument) and declarations (which don't take arguments, but affect all text up to the end of the current group) to access titling, superior and inferior  characters:


    \tlshape        \texttitling    \texttl
    \sufigures      \textsuperior   \textsu
    \infigures      \textinferior   \textin

In addition, the "\swshape" and "\textsw" commands are redefined to place swash on fontaxes' secondary shape axis (fontaxes places it on the primary shape axis) to make them behave properly when nested, so that "\swshape\upshape" will give upright swash.

There are no commands for accessing the numerator and denominator fonts; these can be selected using fontaxes' standard commands, e.g., "\fontfigurestyle{numerator}\selectfont".

The style file also provides a command "\ornament{<number>}", where "<number>" is a number from 0 to the total number of ornaments minus one. Ornaments are always typeset using the current family, series and shape. A list of all ornaments in a font can be created by running LaTeX on the file nfssfont.tex (part of a standard LaTeX installation) and supplying the name of the ornament font.

To access ornament glyphs, autoinst creates a font-specific encoding file <FontFamily>_orn.enc,  but only if that file doesn't yet exist in the current directory. This is a deliberate feature that allows you to provide your own encoding vector, e.g. if your fonts use non-standard glyph names for ornaments.

These commands are only generated for existing shapes and number styles; no commands are generated for shapes and styles that don't exist,  or whose generation was turned off by the user. Also these commands are built on top of fontaxes, so if that package  cannot be found, you're limited to using the lower-level commands from  standard NFSS ("\fontfamily", "\fontseries", "\fontshape" etc.).

NFSS codes

NFSS identifies fonts by a combination of family, series  (the concatenation of weight and width), shape and size. autoinst parses the output of "otfinfo --info" to determine these parameters. When this fails (e.g., because the font family contains uncommon widths or weights), autoinst ends up with different fonts having the same values for these font parameters, and so cannot be used in NFSS. In that case, autoinst will split the font family into multiple subfamilies (based on each font file's "Subfamily" value) and try again. (Since many font vendors misunderstand the "Subfamily" concept and make each font file its own separate subfamily, this strategy is only used as a last resort.)

If a proliferation of font families is unwanted, either run autoinst  on a smaller set of fonts or add the missing widths, weights and shapes to  the tables %FD_WIDTH, %FD_WEIGHT and %FD_SHAPE, at the beginning  of the source code. Please also send a bug report (see Author below).

autoinst maps widths, weights and shapes to NFSS codes using the following tables. These are based on the standard Fontname scheme  and Philipp Lehman's Font Installation Guide, but some changes had to be made  to avoid name clashes in font families with many widths and weights, such as Helvetica Neue and Fira Sans.

    WEIGHT                              WIDTH
    ------------------------            -------------------------------
    Two            2                    Ultra Compressed    up
    Four           4                    Extra Compressed    ep
    Eight          8                    Compressed          p
    Hair           a                    Compact             p
    Thin           i                    Ultra Condensed     uc
    Ultra Light    ul                   Extra Condensed     ec
    Extra Light    el                   Condensed           c
    Light          l                    Narrow              n
    Regular        -     [1]            Semicondensed       sc
    Text           t     [2]            Regular             -       [1]
    Book           o     [2]            Semiextended        sx
    Medium         mb                   Extended            x
    Demibold       db                   Expanded            e
    Semibold       sb                   Wide                w
    Bold           b                    
    Extra Bold     eb                   SHAPE
    Ultra (Bold)   ub                   -------------------------------
    Black          k                    Roman, Upright      n       [3]
    Extra Black    ek                   Italic, Cursive,
    Ultra Black    uk                       Kursiv          it
    Heavy          h                    Oblique, Slanted,
    Poster         r                        Incline(d)      sl

When both weight and width are empty, the NFSS "series" attribute becomes "m".


Until release 2017-06-16, "Text" and "Book" were treated as synonyms for "Regular". As there are some fonts (IBM Plex, Fira Sans) that contain separate "Text" or "Book" in addition to "Regular" weights, I decided to give them their own codes. When there is no "Regular" weight, autoinst will generate ssub rules  to substitute either the "Text" or the "Book" font in its place.


Adobe Silentium Pro contains two roman shapes; "Roman I" is mapped to "n", "Roman II" to "it".

A note for MiKTeX users

Automatically installing the fonts into a suitable TEXMF tree (as autoinst tries to do by default) requires a TeX-installation that uses the kpathsea library; with TeX distributions that implement their own directory searching (such as MiKTeX), autoinst will complain that it cannot find the kpsewhich program and install all generated files into subdirectories of the current directory. If you use such a TeX distribution, you should either move these files to their correct destinations by hand, or use the -target option (see "Command-Line Options" below) to specify a TEXMF tree.

Also, some OpenType fonts may lead to pl and vpl files that are too big for MiKTeX's pltotf and vptovf; the versions that come with W32TeX ( and TeXLive ( don't seem to have this problem.

Command-Line Options

autoinst tries hard to do The Right Thing (TM) by default,  so you usually won't really need these options; but most aspects of its operation can be fine-tuned if you want to.

You may use either one or two dashes before options, and option names may be shortened to a unique prefix (e.g., -encoding may be abbreviated to -enc or even -en, but -e is ambiguous (it may mean either -encoding or -extra)).


Don't generate any output files; only parse the input fonts and create  autoinst.log showing which fonts would have been generated.


Generate the specified encoding(s) for the text fonts. The default is  "OT1,T1,LY1". For each encoding, a file <encoding>.enc (in all lowercase!) should be somewhere where otftotfm can find it. Suitable encoding files for OT1, T1/TS1 and LY1 come with autoinst. (These files are called fontools_ot1.enc etc. to avoid name clashes with other packages; the "fontools_" prefix may be omitted.)

Multiple text encodings can be specified as a comma-separated list: "-encoding=OT1,T1" (without spaces!). The generated style file passes these encodings  to fontenc in the specified order, so the last one will become  the default text encoding for your documents.

-ts1 / -nots1

Control the creation of TS1-encoded fonts. The default is -ts1 if the text encodings (see -encoding above) include T1, -nots1 otherwise.


Install the font as a sanserif font, accessed via "\sffamily" and "\textsf". The generated style file redefines "\familydefault", so including it will still make this font the default text font.


Install the font as a typewriter font, accessed via "\ttfamily" and "\texttt". The generated style file redefines "\familydefault", so including it will still make this font the default text font.

-lining / -nolining

Control the creation of fonts with lining figures. The default is -lining.

-oldstyle / -nooldstyle

Control the creation of fonts with oldstyle figures. The default is -oldstyle.

-proportional / -noproportional

Control the creation of fonts with proportional figures. The default is -proportional.

-tabular / -notabular

Control the creation of fonts with tabular figures. The default is -tabular.

-smallcaps / -nosmallcaps

Control the creation of small caps fonts. The default is -smallcaps.

-swash / -noswash

Control the creation of swash fonts. The default is -swash.

-titling / -notitling

Control the creation of titling fonts. The default is -titling.

-superiors / -nosuperiors

Control the creation of fonts with superior characters. The default is -superiors.

-inferiors=[ sinf | subs | dnom ]

The OpenType standard defines several kinds of digits that might be used  as inferiors or subscripts: "Scientific Inferiors"  (OpenType feature "sinf"), "Subscripts" ("subs") and "Denominators" ("dnom"). This option allows the user to determine which of these styles autoinst should use for the inferior characters. The default is not to create fonts  with inferior characters.

Note that many fonts contain only one (or even none) of these types of inferior characters. If you specify a style of inferiors that isn't actually present in the font, autoinst silently falls back to its default of not creating fonts with inferiors; it doesn't try to substitute one of the other features.

-fractions / -nofractions

Control the creation of fonts with numerators and denominators. The default is -nofractions.

-ornaments / -noornaments

Control the creation of ornament fonts. The default is -ornaments.

-defaultlining / -defaultoldstyle
-defaulttabular / -defaultproportional

Tell autoinst which figure style is the current font family's default (i.e., which figures you get when you don't specify any OpenType features).

Don't use these options unless you are certain you need them! They are only needed for fonts that don't provide OpenType features  for their default figure style; and even in that case,  autoinst's default values (-defaultlining and -defaulttabular)  are usually correct.


Some fonts provide kerning pairs for tabular figures. This is very probably not what you want  (e.g., numbers in tables won't line up exactly). This option adds extra --ligkern options to the commands for otftotfm to suppress such kerns.  Note that this option leads to very long commands (it adds one hundred --ligkern options), which may cause problems on some systems.

-mergewidths / -nomergewidths

Some font families put Condensed and Extended fonts in separate families; this option tells autoinst to merge those separate families into the "main" font family.  The default is -nomergewidths.


Append text as extra options to the command lines for otftotfm.  To prevent text from accidentily being interpreted as options to autoinst,  it should be properly quoted.


Manual mode. By default, autoinst immediately executes all otftotfm commands it generates; with the -manual option, these commands are instead written to a file autoinst.bat. Furthermore it adds the --pl option (which tells otftotfm to generate human readable/editable pl  and vpl files instead of the default tfm and vf files) and omits the --automatic option (which causes otftotfm to leave all generated files in the current directory, rather than install them into your TEXMF tree). Manual mode is meant to enable tweaking  the generated commands and post-processing the generated files.

When using this option, run pltotf and vptovf after executing  the commands (to convert the pl and vf files to tfm and vf format) and move all generated files to their proper destinations.

All following options are only meaningful in automatic mode, and hence ignored in manual mode:


Install all generated files into the TEXMF tree at DIRECTORY. This option allows the user to override autoinst's default behaviour,  which is to search the $TEXMFLOCAL and $TEXMFHOME paths and install all files  into subdirectories of the first writable TEXMF tree it finds  (or into subdirectories of the current directory, if no writable directory is found).


These options are equivalent to otftotfm's --vendor and --typeface options: they change the "vendor" and "typeface" parts of the names of the subdirectories in the TEXMF tree where generated files will be stored. The default values are "lcdftools" and the font's FontFamily name.

Note that these options change only directory names, not the names of any generated files.

-updmap / -noupdmap

Control whether or not updmap is called after the last call to otftotfm. The default is -updmap.

See Also

Eddie Kohler's TypeTools (

Perl can be obtained from;  it is included in most Linux distributions. For Windows, try ActivePerl ( or Strawberry Perl (

XeTeX ( and LuaTeX ( are Unicode-aware TeX engines that can use OpenType fonts directly,  without any (La)TeX-specific support files.

The FontPro project ( offers very complete LaTeX support (even for typesetting maths) for Adobe's  Minion Pro, Myriad Pro and Cronos Pro font families.


Marc Penninga (

When sending a bug report, please give as much relevant information as possible. If you see any error messages (either from autoinst itself, from the LCDF TypeTools, from Perl or from the OS), include these verbatim; don't paraphrase.


This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. A copy of the text of the GNU General Public License is included in  the fontools distribution; see the file GPLv2.txt.


This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

Recent Changes

(See the source for the full story, all the way back to 2005.)


Added the "Text" weight and the -(no)mergewidths option. Changed the NFSS codes for "Thin" and "Book" to "i" and "o", respectively. Tried to improve the documentation.


Added the "sl" weight for font families (such as Fira Sans) that contain both "Book" and "Regular" weights (reported by Bob Tennent).  Added the "Two", "Four", "Eight" and "Hair" weights (for Fira Sans).


Changed the -inferiors option from a binary yes-or-no choice to allow the user to choose one of the "sinf", "subs" and "dnom" features. autoinst now always creates a log file.


Updated the fontools_ot1.enc encoding file to include the "Lslash"  and "lslash" glyphs (thanks to Bob Tennent).


2018-03-26 fontools Marc Penninga