Comparisons of the Fonts for Unicode Math
A TeX file to show the different styles of available unicode-math (Latin and Greek) letter symbols.
2019-10-13 2019-10-19
It is easily to run out of symbols for the physical variables in one document, if the document covers a wide range of physical topics. For instance, p is used for momentum and pressure; m can be mass, number of moles, or mode index. n for the density of species, refractive index, mode index or any integer. Not to mention that there are multiple physical quantities, which have the same Greek symbol. Even worse, the same physical variable can be a scalar (amplitude), vector, matrix or tensor, or the envelope of a harmonic quantity.

I would choose different font styles of the same letter for different physical meanings. For instance script style (\mathscr) of n for particle density and normal italic n for refractive index, bold for vectors, bold or sans serif for tensors. However, in the available type1 font packages, it is hard to find a complete font, which includes all styles.

Among all T1 fonts, STIX is a relatively complete one. However, the difference between the normal uppercase letters and the bold uppercase ones in the version 1 of STIX is not obvious. STIX version 2 is still not mature due to the bugs such as the kerning of all math accents and the limited support of Greek letter styles. Hence, I am forced to switch to the OTF fonts by using XeTeX OR LuaTeX.

In order to check the implementations of styles in the fonts with unicode-math, I wrote a short TeX document to demonstrate the typical variants of the math letter symbols. The compiled demo PDF has 80 pages showing the styles of the following fonts:

A page of the demo PDF is presented as the following image (here shows only the lowercase Latin letters, but the full documents contains uppercase ones as well as the Greek letters). More contents can be found in the PDF. TeX source code is available. You may need to recompile the TeX file when a new version of font is released or to add other fonts.

(It seems that Cambria should be the most satisfying font, although Cambria Math is not generally free.)

EDIT 2019-10-19: Add Libertinus and Garamond Math