Getting Inkscape to Use Latex Fonts (in Windows)


Creating graphics for latex can be a real pain. There are a number of different options for doing this, though none of them is completely ideal. If you’re comfortable using regular latex and generating DVI’s, then the pstricks package is a very powerful tool. If you prefer generating PDF (now an open standard) files (as I do) then the PGF/TikZ latex packages are a very powerful and can do just about everything… except that you have to code your graphics… which is a very slow iterative process. The GNU Diagramming tool Dia can create block diagrams and flow charts and can export either pstricks or tikz code. Inkscape is a much nicer user-oriented graphical vector drawing tool, but doesn’t have native support for for LaTex, and creating graphics including LaTeX math-mode is a real pain. In any case, I’ve found a number of situations where a figure like the following was pretty easy to do create in Inkscape.

Inkscape Figure for LaTeX

Inkscape Figure for LaTeX

Getting the Fonts

In order to get the math font’s to look like they do in LaTeX, though, you need to have the font’s installed where Inkscape can find them. Unfortunately, LaTex uses type1 postscript fonts, while Inkscape can only find font’s that windows has installed in the system, which includes true-type or open-type fonts. Fortunately you can get the fonts for “Computer Modern” (Knuth’s Font uses as the default in LaTeX) from the TeX archives in these formats. Simply download these fonts, and install them in windows (drag them to C:/Windows/Fonts). The next time you run Inkscape, it will have these font’s available and you can use them in your pretty graphics.

Other Fonts

There are some other font’s that you’ll find used by latex that aren’t in OTF or TTF format though. The only (open-source) way I’ve found to convert type-1 font’s to OTF is through an ancient tool called Font-Forge. It’s an X-Windows program so you’ll have to install the Cygwin x-server, or, luckily, someone has ported it to MinGW (native Win32).

Tex Text plugin

Lately, I’ve been using the Tex Text plugin instead of using latex fonts with regular inkscape text. The interface is a little tedious, but it works quite well (and it’s a lot less tedious then laying out the text by hand).

  1. #1 by Dmitry Gusev on January 4, 2011 - 6:09 pm

    Thanks, the link to OTF fonts helped. I couldn’t get Inkscape to work with OTF fonts in Windows, it only see TTF fonts. I also used OpenOffice.ord Draw with OTF fonts – works good.

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