Where are the am fonts?

One still occasionally comes across a request for the am series of fonts. The initials stood for ‘Almost [Computer] Modern’, and they were the predecessors of the Computer Modern fonts that we all know and love (or hate) † The fonts acquired their label ‘Almost’ following the realisation that their first implementation in MetaFont79 still wasn’t quite right; Knuth’s original intention had been that they were the final answer. . There’s not a lot one can do with these fonts; they are (as their name implies) almost (but not quite) the same as the cm series; if you’re faced with a document that requests them, the only reasonable approach is to edit the document to replace am* font names with cm*.

The appearance of DVI files that request them is sufficiently rare that no-one has undertaken the mammoth task of creating a translation of them by means of virtual fonts.

You therefore have to fool the system into using cm* fonts where the original author specified am*.

One option is the font substitutions that many DVI drivers provide via their configuration file — specify that every am font should be replaced by its corresponding cm font.

Alternatively, one may try DVI editing — packages dtl (DVI Text Language) and dviasm (DVI assembler) can both provide round trips from DVI to text and back to DVI. One therefore edits font names (throughout the text representation of the file) in the middle of that round trip.

The DTL text is pretty straightforward, for this purpose: fontnames are in single quotes at the end of lines, so:

dv2dt -odoc.txt› ‹doc.dvi
(edit the txt file)
dt2dv -oedited.dvi› ‹edited.txt
(you have to compile the C programs for this).

Dviasm is a Python script; its output has font names in a section near the start of the document, and then dotted about through the body, so:

python dviasm.py -odoc.txt› ‹doc.dvi
(edit the txt file)
python dviasm.py -oedited.dvi› ‹edited.txt
Both routes seem acceptable ways forward; it is a matter of taste which any particular user may choose (it’s not likely that it will be necessary very often...).