[R] [Follow-up] Re: PLoS, Arial, R & linux

(Ted Harding) Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk
Thu Nov 19 14:00:25 CET 2009

See Addendum at end.

On 19-Nov-09 12:17:54, Ted Harding wrote:
> On 19-Nov-09 11:52:57, Deepayan Sarkar wrote:
>> On Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 4:30 PM, Ted Harding
>> <Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk> wrote:
>>> Greetings All.
>>> According to the PLoS (Public Library of Science) Guidelines
>>> for Figure preparation, if a figure is submitted as EPS rather
>>> than TIFF then "Figure text must be in Arial font" -- see:
>>> [1]
>>> http://www.plosntds.org/static/figureGuidelines.action#text
>>> and also other sections in that web-page
>>> [2]
>>> http://www.plosntds.org/static/figureGuidelines.action
>>> Now, Arial font is not (as a rule) available in Linux, and
>>> EPS diagrams prepared using R graphics will call for Helvetica
>>> (by default). Of course the Helvetica family is very similar to
>>> Arial, but the in-file font references will call for Helvetica
>>> so a production system which is expecting calls for Arial may
>>> be thrown off the rails by an EPS file which calls for Helvetica.
>>> While there is a section ("Enable the use of Arial in R") in the
>> The fact that there is such a section suggests that they accept the
>> resulting files, doesn't it?
>>> Guidelines (URL [2]), the instructions assume the presence of
>>> Arial ".ttf" files, not usually the case with Linux.
>> But easy enough to fix (completely legally, thanks to a licensing
>> oversight by Microsoft):
>> http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/
>> In Debian (and I assume Ubuntu):
>> $ sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts
>> -Deepayan
> Many thanks, Deepayan! I wasn't aware of that route.
> Using synaptic on Debian (Etch), with Search: msttcorefonts
> the font files were installed quite painlessly. I now have:
> /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/arialbd.ttf
> /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/arialbi.ttf
> /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/ariali.ttf
> /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/arial.ttf
> so should be able to make progress as described in the Guidelines.
> Ted.


Well, the fonts were installed as above, indeed. However, according
to the PLoS Guidelines one must generate .afm files before using
them in R, along the lines of:

  First, convert the Arial .ttf files to afm:

  ttf2afm /usr/share/fonts/msttcorefonts/arial.ttf > ~/arial.afm
  ttf2afm /usr/share/fonts/msttcorefonts/ariali.ttf > ~/ariali.afm
  ttf2afm /usr/share/fonts/msttcorefonts/arialbd.ttf > ~/arialbd.afm
  ttf2afm /usr/share/fonts/msttcorefonts/arialbi.ttf > ~/arialbi.afm

and then one can use them in R's postscript() with the "family"
argument on the lines of

  postscript(file="try.ps", horizontal=F, onefile=F, width=4, height=4,
    family=c("/home/stephen/arial.afm", "/home/stephen/arialbd.afm",
    "/home/stephen/ariali.afm", "/home/stephen/arialbi.afm"),

(a) I do not have the 'ttf2afm' program;
(b) Synaptic cannot find it in the repositories.

So, I'm off on another hunt!

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 19-Nov-09                                       Time: 12:58:32
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