Typesetting the Euro sign

The European currency “Euro” (€) is represented by a symbol of somewhat dubious design, but it’s an important currency and (La)TeX users need to typeset it. When the currency first appeared, typesetting it was a serious problem for (La)TeX users; things are easier now (most fonts have some way of providing a Euro sign), but this answer provides a summary of methods “just in case”.

Note that the Commission of the European Community at first deemed that the Euro symbol should always be set in a sans-serif font; fortunately, this eccentric ruling has now been rescinded, and one may apply best typesetting efforts to making it appear at least slightly “respectable” (typographically).

The TS1-encoded TC fonts provided as part of the EC font distribution provide Euro glyphs. The fonts are called Text Companion (TC) fonts, and offer the same range of faces as do the EC fonts themselves. The textcomp package provides a \texteuro command for accessing the symbol, which selects a symbol to match the surrounding text. The design of the symbol in the TC fonts is not universally loved… Nevertheless, use the TC font version of the symbol if you are producing documents using Knuth’s Computer Modern Fonts.

The each of the latin9 and latin10 input encoding definitions for the inputenc package has a euro character defined (character position 164, occupied in other ISO Latin character sets by the “currency symbol” ¤, which ordinary people seldom see except in character-set listings…). The TC encoding file offers the command \texteuro for the character; that command is (probably) only available from the textcomp package.

Use of the TC encoding character may therefore made via \texteuro or via the Latin-9 or Latin-10 character in ordinary text.

Note that there is a Microsoft code page position (128), too, and that has been added to inputenc tables for CP1252 and CP1257. (There’s another position in CP858, which has it in place of “dotless i” in CP850; the standardisation of these things remains within Microsoft, so one can never tell what will come next…)

Outline fonts which contain nothing but Euro symbols are available (free) from Adobe\ — the file is packaged as a Windows self-extracting executable, but it may be decoded as a .zip format archive on other operating systems. The euro bundle contains metrics, dvips map files, and macros (for Plain TeX and LaTeX), for using these fonts in documents. LaTeX users will find two packages in the bundle: eurosans only offers the sans-serif version (to conform with the obsolete ruling about sans-serif-only symbols; the package provides the command \euro), whereas europs matches the Euro symbol with the surrounding text (providing the command \EUR). To use either package with the latin9 encoding, you need to define \texteuro as an alias for the euro command the package defines.

The Adobe fonts are probably the best bet for use in non-Computer Modern environments. They are apparently designed to fit with Adobe Times, Helvetica and Courier, but can probably fit with a wider range of modern fonts.

The eurofont package provides a compendious analysis of the “problem of the euro symbol” in its documentation, and offers macros for configuring the source of the glyphs to be used; however, it seems rather large for everyday use.

The euro-ce bundle is a rather pleasing Metafont-only design providing Euro symbols in a number of shapes. The file euro-ce.tex, in the distribution, offers hints as to how a Plain TeX user might make use of the fonts.

Euro symbols are found in several other places, which we list here for completeness.

The marvosym font contains a Euro symbol (in a number of typographic styles), among many other good things; the font is available in both Adobe Type 1 and TrueType formats.

Other Metafont-based bundles containing Euro symbols are to be found in china2e (whose primary aim is Chinese dates and suchlike matters) and the eurosym fonts.

china2e bundle
macros/latex/contrib/china2e (or browse the directory)
EC fonts
fonts/ec (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
euro fonts
fonts/euro (or browse the directory)
euro-ce fonts
fonts/euro-ce (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
eurofont.sty
macros/latex/contrib/eurofont (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
eurosym fonts
fonts/eurosym (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
marvosym fonts
fonts/marvosym (or browse the directory)
textcomp.sty
Part of the LaTeX distribution.

This answer last edited: 2011-11-21

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