XBanner Font Tips


Font Directories

When going to find a font, the first thing you need to do is check where the font directories are located on your X-Server. On my machine, I type xset q like this:

GGF root 84:~/Xbanner# xset q
Keyboard Control:
 auto repeat: on key click percent: 0 LED mask: 02000000
 auto repeating keys: 0000000000000000
 bell percent: 50 bell pitch: 400 bell duration: 100
Pointer Control:
 acceleration: 2/1 threshold: 4
Screen Saver:
 prefer blanking: yes allow exposures: yes
 timeout: 600 cycle: 600
 default colormap: 0x21 BlackPixel: 1 WhitePixel: 0
Font Path:
 /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/, <= Scalable fonts!
 /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo/, <= Scalable fonts!
Bug Mode: compatibility mode is disabled

Finding Fonts

If you don't have these, you'll have to install them. The distribution of XFree86 has them as a separate file, so you just need to use the tar command to find out exactly which file it is.

If you do have these directories in the font path, you might want to try and use the xfontsel utility. This will help you a lot. Once you selected the font you want, there is an option to simply paste the font name with the mouse into any other window.

See the font path at the end of the above example? The Type1/ and Speedo/ directories contain scalable fonts. Use 'cd /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/' and view the file 'fonts.dir' in that directory. You will see something like:

16 <<< number of fonts in this directory
UTRG____.pfa -adobe-utopia-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
UTI_____.pfa -adobe-utopia-medium-i-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
UTB_____.pfa -adobe-utopia-bold-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
UTBI____.pfa -adobe-utopia-bold-i-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
cour.pfa -adobe-courier-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-m-0-iso8859-1
couri.pfa -adobe-courier-medium-i-normal--0-0-0-0-m-0-iso8859-1
courb.pfa -adobe-courier-bold-r-normal--0-0-0-0-m-0-iso8859-1
courbi.pfa -adobe-courier-bold-i-normal--0-0-0-0-m-0-iso8859-1
c0648bt_.pfb -bitstream-charter-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
c0649bt_.pfb -bitstream-charter-medium-i-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
c0632bt_.pfb -bitstream-charter-bold-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
c0633bt_.pfb -bitstream-charter-bold-i-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
c0419bt_.pfb -bitstream-courier-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-m-0-iso8859-1
c0582bt_.pfb -bitstream-courier-medium-i-normal--0-0-0-0-m-0-iso8859-1
c0583bt_.pfb -bitstream-courier-bold-r-normal--0-0-0-0-m-0-iso8859-1
c0611bt_.pfb -bitstream-courier-bold-i-normal--0-0-0-0-m-0-iso8859-1
------------ ------------------------------------------------------------
File Name Font Name

Analyzing A Font

Let's look at one of these fonts:


This is how it looks in the 'fonts.dir' file. When we want to use a font, some of the font's fields can be specified as wildcards. The 0's specify that this field can be asked-for arbitrarily. This means that if we ask for a font:


The X-Server will generate for us a font of 100 pixels size, at 75 dpi resolution.

What Else?

Another way to find out about the fonts in your system is to query the X-Server by using "xlsfonts". Try to look for fonts with pixel-sizes of 0 (zero) in the output of xlsfonts. These are likely to be scalable.

Notice that some scalable fonts are bitmap scalable fonts, which means they look awful when scaled to very large sizes. You really do want to use those Type1 and Speedo fonts!

So... All you need to do is experiment.

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