Fonts

Gnuplot does not provide any fonts of its own. It relies on external font handling, the details of which unfortunately vary from one terminal type to another. Brief documentation of font mechanisms that apply to more than one terminal type is given here. For information on font use by other individual terminals, see the documentation for that terminal.

Although it is possible to include non-alphabetic symbols by temporarily switching to a special font, e.g. the Adobe Symbol font, the preferred method is now to specify the unicode entry point for the desired symbols using their UTF-8 encoding. See encoding and locale.

Cairo (pdfcairo, pngcairo, epscairo, wxt terminals)

These terminals find and access fonts using the external fontconfig tool set. Please see the

fontconfig user manual.

It is usually sufficient in gnuplot to request a font by a generic name and size, letting fontconfig substitute a similar font if necessary. The following will probably all work:

set term pdfcairo font "sans,12"
set term pdfcairo font "Times,12"
set term pdfcairo font "Times-New-Roman,12"

Gd (png, gif, jpeg terminals)

Font handling for the png, gif, and jpeg terminals is done by the external library libgd. Five basic fonts are provided directly by libgd. These are tiny (5x8 pixels), small (6x12 pixels), medium, (7x13 Bold), large (8x16) or giant (9x15 pixels). These fonts cannot be scaled or rotated. Use one of these keywords instead of the font keyword. E.g.

set term png tiny

On most systems libgd also provides access to Adobe Type 1 fonts (*.pfa) and TrueType fonts (*.ttf). You must give the name of the font file, not the name of the font inside it, in the form "<face> {,<pointsize>}". <face> is either the full pathname to the font file, or the first part of a filename in one of the directories listed in the GDFONTPATH environmental variable. That is, 'set term png font "Face"' will look for a font file named either <somedirectory>/Face.ttf or <somedirectory>/Face.pfa. For example, if GDFONTPATH contains /usr/local/fonts/ttf:/usr/local/fonts/pfa then the following pairs of commands are equivalent

set term png font "arial"
set term png font "/usr/local/fonts/ttf/arial.ttf"
set term png font "Helvetica"
set term png font "/usr/local/fonts/pfa/Helvetica.pfa"

To request a default font size at the same time:

set term png font "arial,11"

Both TrueType and Adobe Type 1 fonts are fully scalable and rotatable. If no specific font is requested in the "set term" command, gnuplot checks the environmental variable GNUPLOT_DEFAULT_GDFONT to see if there is a preferred default font.

Postscript (also encapsulated postscript *.eps)

PostScript font handling is done by the printer or viewing program. Gnuplot can create valid PostScript or encapsulated PostScript (*.eps) even if no fonts at all are installed on your computer. Gnuplot simply refers to the font by name in the output file, and assumes that the printer or viewing program will know how to find or approximate a font by that name.

All PostScript printers or viewers should know about the standard set of Adobe fonts Times-Roman, Helvetica, Courier, and Symbol. It is likely that many additional fonts are also available, but the specific set depends on your system or printer configuration. Gnuplot does not know or care about this; the output *.ps or *.eps files that it creates will simply refer to whatever font names you request.

Thus

set term postscript eps font "Times-Roman,12"

will produce output that is suitable for all printers and viewers.

On the other hand

set term postscript eps font "Garamond-Premier-Pro-Italic"

will produce an output file that contains valid PostScript, but since it refers to a specialized font, only some printers or viewers will be able to display the specific font that was requested. Most will substitute a different font.

However, it is possible to embed a specific font in the output file so that all printers will be able to use it. This requires that the a suitable font description file is available on your system. Note that some font files require specific licensing if they are to be embedded in this way. See postscript fontfile for more detailed description and examples.