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Re: Titles disappear on SuSE 9.1

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg53194] Re: [mg53186] Titles disappear on SuSE 9.1
  • From: "P.J. Hinton" <paulh at>
  • Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 23:12:11 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: "Wolfram Research, Inc."
  • References: <>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

On Tue, 28 Dec 2004, Michael Goerz wrote:

> 	When I format some Text as 'Title' (Format/Style) with Mathematica 5 on
> SuSE 9.1, The text just disappears, i.e. it turns to white on the
> screen. The cell is still there but I can't see the text. It is visible
> on a printout. The same happens for Subsubtitle and Section, but not for
> any other formatting. Has anyone encountered this problem also? How can
> I solve this?

Problems like this may arise when the following criteria are satisfied:

1) The font specified by the cell style is available to the X server in
bitmap format (e.g. BDF or PCF).

2) The font path entry for the directory that contains the bitmap font
files specifies that these fonts not be scaled.

3) The point size of the font in the cell style is a value for which no
bitmap font is available.

There are two ways to fix the problem:

1) Set up an alias for the font so that a different, available, font
family is used for outline fonts.

2) Obtain an outline version of the font and make the font available to
the X server.

Option (1) has the advantage of being much cheaper and easier to do.
However, problems may arise if the metrics of the substitute font do not
closely match the original font.

Option (2), while avoiding the issue of mismatched font metrics, has the
disadvantage of potentially being expensive, as licenses for commercial
Type 1 fonts can be on the order of tens of dollars per font family.
Moreover, an outline font may not be available for the font family in

In your situation, all of the cell styles you mention use Helvetica, for
which there is not an outline font on a standard X11 installation.

 To implement option (1) above, all you need to do is create a file called
"fonts.alias" in the directory that contains the Type 1 Mathematica fonts

The file should contain the following text:

-adobe-helvetica-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1 "-bitstream-swiss 721-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1"
-adobe-helvetica-medium-o-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1 "-bitstream-swiss 721-medium-i-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1"
-adobe-helvetica-bold-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1 "-bitstream-swiss 721-bold-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1"

This tells the X server to use the Type 1 version of the font Swiss721
whenver an outline version of Helvetica is needed.  Mathematica ships with
a licensed copy of Swiss721.

After you have created and saved the file, you may need to refresh the X
server's font database with the shell command:

	xset fp rehash

Note that you may need to have root access to modify the contents of the
Mathematica directory SystemFiles/Fonts/Type1.

Note that this problem is resolve in subsequent releases of Mathematica as
we ship a copy of a fonts.alias file in this Type 1 font directory.

P.J. Hinton
User Interface Programmer                         paulh at
Wolfram Research, Inc.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone.

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