Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: 1 March 2011Index
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tex, virtex, initex - text formatting and typesetting
Run the TeX typesetter on
If the file argument has no extension, ".tex" will be appended to it.
Instead of a filename, a set of TeX commands can be given, the first
of which must start with a backslash.
argument TeX uses a different set of precompiled commands,
it is usually better to use the
formats the interspersed text and commands contained in the named
and outputs a typesetter independent file (called
which is short for
TeX's capabilities and language are described in
The TeX book.
is normally used with a large body of precompiled macros,
and there are several specific formatting systems, such as
which require the support of several macro files.
This version of TeX looks at its command line to see what name it
was called under. If they exist, then both
are symbolic links to the
executable. When called as
(or when the
option is given) it can be used to precompile macros into a
file. When called as
it will use the
format. When called under any other name, TeX will use that name as
the name of the format to use. For example, when called as
format is used, which is identical to the
format. The commands defined by the
format are documented in
The TeX book.
Other formats that are often available include
The non-option command line arguments to the
program are passed to it as the first input line. (But it is often
easier to type extended arguments as the first input line, since UNIX
shells tend to gobble up or misinterpret TeX's favorite symbols,
like backslashes, unless you quote them.)
As described in
The TeX book,
that first line should begin with a filename, a
The normal usage is to say
to start processing
will be the ``jobname'', and is used in forming
If TeX doesn't get a filename in the first line, the jobname is
When looking for a file, TeX looks for the name with and without the
appended, unless the name already contains that extension. If
is the ``jobname'',
a log of error messages, with rather more detail than normally appears
on the screen, will appear in
and the output file will be in
This version of TeX can look in the first line of the file
to see if it begins with the magic sequence
If the first line begins with
then TeX will use the named format and translation table
to process the source file. Either the format name or the
specification may be omitted, but not both. This overrides the
format selection based on the name by which the program is invoked.
option or the
configuration variable controls whether this behaviour is enabled.
response to TeX's error prompt causes the system default editor to
start up at the current line of the current file. The environment
variable TEXEDIT can be used to change the editor used. It may
contain a string with "%s" indicating where the filename goes and "%d"
indicating where the decimal line number (if any) goes. For example,
a TEXEDIT string for
can be set with the
TEXEDIT="emacs +%d %s"; export TEXEDIT
A convenient file in the library is
When TeX can't find a file it thinks you want to input, it keeps
asking you for another filename; responding `null' gets you out
of the loop if you don't want to input anything. You can also type your
EOF character (usually control-D).
This version of TeX understands the following command line options.
Enable the encTeX extensions. This option is only effective in
For documentation of the encTeX extensions see
Print error messages in the form
which is similar to the way many compilers format them.
Disable printing error messages in the
This is the old name of the
- -fmt format
as the name of the format to be used, instead of the name by which
TeX was called or a
Exit with an error code when an error is encountered during processing.
Print help message and exit.
mode, which is used to dump formats. The
mode can be used for typesetting, but no format is preloaded, and
basic initializations like setting catcodes may be required.
- -interaction mode
Sets the interaction mode. The mode can be either
The meaning of these modes is the same as that of the corresponding
Send DVI output to a socket as well as the usual output file. Whether
this option is available is the choice of the installer.
and starts the server at the other end as well. Whether this option
is available is the choice of the installer.
- -jobname name
for the job name, instead of deriving it from the name of the input file.
- -kpathsea-debug bitmask
Sets path searching debugging flags according to the bitmask. See the
manual for details.
- -mktex fmt
must be either
Enable MLTeX extensions. Only effective in combination with
- -no-mktex fmt
must be either
- -output-comment string
file comment instead of the date.
- -output-directory directory
Write output files in
instead of the current directory. Look up input files in
first, then along the normal search path. See also description of the
TEXMFOUTPUT environment variable.
If the first line of the main input file begins with
parse it to look for a dump name or a
Disable parsing of the first line of the main input file.
- -progname name
Pretend to be program
This affects both the format used and the search paths.
Enable the filename recorder. This leaves a trace of the files opened
for input and output in a file with extension
can be any shell command. This construct is normally
disallowed for security reasons.
construct, even if it is enabled in the
Insert source specials into the
- -src-specials where
Insert source specials in certain places of the
is a comma-separated value list:
- -translate-file tcxname
translation table to set the mapping of input characters and
re-mapping of output characters.
- -default-translate-file tcxname
except that a
line can overrule this setting.
Print version information and exit.
See the Kpathsearch library documentation (the `Path specifications'
node) for precise details of how the environment variables are used.
utility can be used to query the values of the variables.
One caveat: In most TeX formats, you cannot use ~ in a filename you
give directly to TeX, because ~ is an active character, and hence is
expanded, not taken as part of the filename. Other programs, such as
Metafont, do not have this problem.
Normally, TeX puts its output files in the current directory. If
any output file cannot be opened there, it tries to open it in the
directory specified in the environment variable TEXMFOUTPUT.
There is no default value for that variable. For example, if you say
and the current directory is not writable, if TEXMFOUTPUT has
TeX attempts to create
if any output is produced.) TEXMFOUTPUT is also checked for input
files, as TeX often generates files that need to be subsequently
read; for input, no suffixes (such as ``.tex'') are added by default,
the input name is simply checked as given.
Search path for
This probably start with ``.'', so
that user files are found before system files. An empty path
component will be replaced with the paths defined in the
file. For example, set TEXINPUTS to ".:/home/user/tex:" to prepend the
current directory and ``/home/user/tex'' to the standard search path.
Search path for format files.
search path for
Command template for switching to editor. The default, usually
is set when TeX is compiled.
Search path for font metric
The location of the files mentioned below varies from system to
system. Use the
utility to find their locations.
Configuration file. This contains definitions of search paths as well
as other configuration parameters like
Text file containing TeX's internal strings.
Filename mapping definitions.
Metric files for TeX's fonts.
Predigested TeX format (.fmt) files.
The basic macro package described in the TeX book.
This manual page is not meant to be exhaustive. The complete
documentation for this version of TeX can be found in the info manual
Web2C: A TeX implementation
This version of TeX implements a number of optional extensions.
In fact, many of these extensions conflict to a greater or lesser
extent with the definition of TeX. When such extensions are
enabled, the banner printed when TeX starts is changed to print
This version of TeX fails to trap arithmetic overflow when
dimensions are added or subtracted. Cases where this occurs are rare,
but when it does the generated
file will be invalid.
Donald E. Knuth,
The TeX book
Addison-Wesley, 1986, ISBN 0-201-13447-0.
LaTeX - A Document Preparation System
Addison-Wesley, 1985, ISBN 0-201-15790-X.
Eplain: Expanded plain TeX
The Joy of TeX
2nd edition, Addison-Wesley, 1990, ISBN 0-8218-2997-1.
(the journal of the TeX Users Group).
TeX, pronounced properly, rhymes with ``blecchhh.'' The proper
spelling in typewriter-like fonts is ``TeX'' and not ``TEX'' or ``tex.''
TeX was designed by Donald E. Knuth,
who implemented it using his Web system for Pascal programs.
It was ported to Unix at Stanford by Howard Trickey, and
at Cornell by Pavel Curtis.
The version now offered with the Unix TeX distribution is that
generated by the Web to C system
originally written by Tomas Rokicki and Tim Morgan.
The encTeX extensions were written by Petr Olsak.
- SEE ALSO