R and LaTeX PDF graphics

When writing a document in LaTeX that makes use of figures from R, I want to produce a PDF with

  • vector graphics,
  • consistent fonts,
  • not to mess around overlaying text in LaTeX,

and maybe typeset math in the R graphics. This post surveys the state of the art in how to achieve the best of all worlds when importing graphics generated by R into documents typeset to PDF with LaTeX. I look at postscript and PDF figures generated by R’s X11, Cairo, and finally the new (and awesome) TikZ devices.

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Decent terminal font

I haven’t been able to find a good replacement for Monaco for use as a terminal font on OS X.

try figuring this one out with bleary eyes
try figuring this one out with bleary eyes

My personal favourite terminal font, neep alt isn’t readily useable from OS X.

None of the Proggy fonts are as clean as Monaco, although Proggy Tiny 11 comes close.

  • lower-case “a” should be double-storey, so it doesn’t look anything like lower-case “o”
  • zero “0” should be slashed
  • lower-case “l” should have a serif on the bottom like lower-case “t”, and not look like numeral “1” or upper-case “I”.
  • upper-case “U” and “V” differ by at least 7 pixels
  • gentle curves rather than blocky rectangles, please

It’s disappointing that Monaco can get so much right and get lower-case “a” wrong. Still, if anyone wants to port neep alt to a format OS X and iTerm can handle (even if it’s only at 13pt semicondensed)… I tried once with fontforge but it was pretty broken.