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For a specific task I want to select a decent font. For that I want to compare the text “E G PM” for all my installed fonts (or even more). Especially the bold face of a font (if it has any) will more likely match my requirements.

A quick visual viewing will probably sort 90% out already, so I was thinking of seeing a list of my string in the different font faces available on my system.

The font viewer/manager I tried are not up for the task. Which app could help me here or how can I quickly solve my problem otherwise?

The apps I tried are:

  • fontmatrix (binary from trusty sources installed on bionic)
    • version 0.6.0+svn20110930 (0.9.99)
    • a bug hinders your configured text to be shown (font name is always shown)
    • it does not show the bold face of a font in the list (just regular)
  • gnome-specimen (also from trusty)
    • you have to add each font face individually (2-3 clicks) to seem them
    • you see substituted fonts (if glyph is not in font) without being warned/told
  • fontypython crashes at startup
  • fontmanager.app is unusable in i3
  • gwaterfall
    • text is fixed to “Lazy dog...”
    • needs each font selected individually (4 clicks at least)
  • font-manager
    • has a great browse mode, but in that mode it doesn’t show your own text (only font name)
  • gnome-font-viewer can’t set text
  • typecatcher
    • custom text, yes
    • shows just regular type face for each font (i.e. not bold or others)
    • requires 1 click to see the font
    • doesn’t show system fonts(?), only a big selection of downloadables
  • Opcion
    • horrible user interface
    • doesn’t show bold type face (and others) in the list
  • FontViewer
    • makes fonts look ugly (doesn’t antialias or whatnot)
    • no list, no bold face
  • kfontview
    • doesn’t find system fonts itself (select font with “Open...” on a font file)
    • doesn’t do lists of fonts
  • FontBase
    • is the best one so far...
    • shows “google fonts” (so many; chances high to find something useable?)
    • adding /usr/share as font directory turns the program slow
    • shows custom text for all font faces; easy to scroll
    • (clicking the wrong button activates all fonts with no way to return to your selection from before → not a good mechanism to mark fonts for future reference)
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There is gnome-terminal when you select Edit -> Profile Preferences -> Custom Font:

terminal fonts.png

However on my system it doesn't display the "E G PM" even though it head fakes you into thinking it will.

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  • The gnome font selector... On my system gnome-terminal restricts the selection to mono space fonts. I found the same selector in gnome-tweaks (there are more examples). The sample string is applied to the sample string input box itself (only). Oct 29 '19 at 22:18
  • @RobertSiemer It certainly isn't the greatest display of fonts. But I like it better than LibreOffice Writer (another default application in Ubuntu) which I found surprisingly awkward. I think a nifty app would be to loop through every font family and print a sample sentence / string to your printer. Sometimes printed copies aren't faithful to what you see on the screen (WYSIWYG) Oct 29 '19 at 23:02

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