MPOST

Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: 10 November 2001
Index Return to Main Contents
 

NAME

mpost, inimpost, virmpost - MetaPost, a system for drawing pictures  

SYNOPSIS

mpost [options] [commands]  

DESCRIPTION

MetaPost interprets the MetaPost language and produces PostScript pictures. The MetaPost language is similar to Knuth's Metafont with additional features for including tex(1) or troff(1) commands and accessing features of PostScript not found in Metafont.

Like TeX and Metafont, MetaPost is normally used with a large body of precompiled macros. This version of MetaPost looks at its command line to see what name it was called under. Both inimpost and virmpost are symlinks to the mpost executable. When called as inimpost (or when the -ini option is given) it can be used to precompile macros into a .mem file. When called as virmpost it will use the plain mem. When called under any other name, MetaPost will use that name as the name of the mem to use. For example, when called as mpost the mpost mem is used, which is identical to the plain mem. Other mems than plain are rarely used.

The commands given on the command line to the MetaPost 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 MetaPost's favorite symbols, like semicolons, unless you quote them.) The first line should begin with a filename, a \controlsequence, or a &memname.

The normal usage is to say mpost figs to process the file figs.mp. The basename of figs becomes the ``jobname'', and is used in forming output file names. If no file is named, the jobname becomes mpout. The default extension, .mp, can be overridden by specifying an extension explicitly.

There is normally one output file for each picture generated, and the output files are named jobname.nnn, where nnn is a number passed to the beginfig macro. The output file name can also be jobname.ps if this number is negative.

The output files can be used as figures in a TeX document by including

\special{psfile=jobname.nnn}
in the TeX document. Alternatively, one can \input epsf.tex and then use the macro
\epsfbox{jobname.nnn}
to produce a box of the appropriate size containing the figure.
btex TeX commands etex
This causes mpost to generate a MetaPost picture expression that corresponds to the TeX commands. If the TeX commands generate more than one line of text, it must be in a \vbox or a minipage environment.
verbatimtex TeX commands etex
This is ignored by mpost except that the TeX commands are passed on to TeX. When using LaTeX instead of TeX the input file must start with a verbatimtex block that gives the \documentstyle and \begin{document} commands. You can use the `%&' construct in the first verbatimtex block to ensure that the correct TeX format is used to process the commands.

Since most TeX fonts have to be downloaded as bitmaps, the btex feature works best when the output of mpost is to be included in a TeX document so that dvips(1) can download the fonts. For self-contained PostScript output that can be used directly or included in a troff document, start your MetaPost input file with the command prologues:=1 and stick to standard PostScript fonts. TeX and MetaPost use the names in the third column of the file trfonts.map, which can be found in the directories with support files for MetaPost.

MetaPost output can be included in a troff document via the -m pictures macro package. In this case mpost should be invoked with the -T flag so that the commands between btex and etex or between verbatimtex and etex are interpreted as troff instead of TeX. (This automatically sets prologues:=1 ).  

OPTIONS

This version of MetaPost understands the following command line options.
-file-line-error
Print error messages in the form file:line:error which is similar to the way many compilers format them.
-no-file-line-error
Disable printing error messages in the file:line:error style.
-file-line-error-style
This is the old name of the -file-line-error option.
-halt-on-error
Exit with an error code when an error is encountered during processing.
-help
Print help message and exit.
-ini
Be inimpost, for dumping bases; this is implicitly true if the program is called as inimpost.
-interaction mode
Sets the interaction mode. The mode can be one of batchmode, nonstopmode, scrollmode, and errorstopmode. The meaning of these modes is the same as that of the corresponding commands.
-jobname name
Use 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 Kpathsea manual for details.
-mem mem
Use mem as the name of the mem to be used, instead of the name by which MetaPost was called or a %& line.
-output-directory directory
directory instead of the current directory. Look up input files in directory first, the along the normal search path.
-parse-first-line
If the first line of the main input file begins with %& parse it to look for a dump name or a -translate-file option.
-no-parse-first-line
Disable parsing of the first line of the main input file.
-progname name
Pretend to be program name. This affects both the format used and the search paths.
-recorder
Enable the filename recorder. This leaves a trace of the files opened for input and output in a file with extension .fls.
-T
Produce TROFF output.
-translate-file tcxname
Use the tcxname translation table.
-troff
As -T.
-version
Print version information and exit.
 

ENVIRONMENT

See the Kpathsearch library documentation (the `Path specifications' node) for the details of how the environment variables are use when searching. The kpsewhich utility can be used to query the values of the variables.

If the environment variable TEXMFOUTPUT is set, MetaPost attempts to put its output files in it, if they cannot be put in the current directory.

Here is a list of the environment variables affect the behavior of mpost:

MPINPUTS
Search path for input files.
MFINPUTS
Auxiliary search path for input files with .mf extensions.
MPSUPPORT
Directory for various tables for handling included tex and troff.
MPXCOMMAND
The name of a shell script that converts embedded typesetting commands to a form that MetaPost understands. Defaults: makempx for tex and troffmpx for troff.
TEX
The version of TeX - or LaTeX - to use when processing btex and verbatimtex commands. Default tex. This version of MetaPost allows you to use a `%&format' line instead.
TROFF
The troff pipeline for btex and verbatimtex commands. Default eqn -d\$\$ | troff
MPEDIT
A command template for invoking an editor.

A .mem file is a binary file that permits fast loading of macro packages. mpost reads the default plain.mem unless another .mem file is specified at the start of the first line with an & just before it. There is also an mfplain.mem that simulates plain Metafont so that mpost can read .mf fonts. (Plain Metafont is described in The Metafontbook).

Experts can create .mem files be invoking inimpost and giving macro definitions followed by a dump command.

The MetaPost language is similar to Metafont, but the manual A User's Manual for MetaPost assumes no knowledge of Metafont. MetaPost does not have bitmap output commands or Metafont's online display mechanism.  

FILES

mpost.pool
Encoded text of MetaPost's messages.
*.mem
Predigested MetaPost mem files.
plain.mp
The standard mem file.
mfplain.mp
The Metafont-compatible mem file. This is loaded when virmp is invoked via a symbolic link as mfmp.
$TEXMFMAIN/metapost/base/*.mp
The standard MetaPost macros included in the original distribution.
$TEXMFMAIN/metapost/support/*
Various tables for handling included tex and troff.
$TEXMFMAIN/metapost/support/trfonts.map
Table of corresponding font names for troff and PostScript.
psfonts.map
Table of corresponding font names for tex and PostScript.
$TEXMFMAIN/doc/metapost/examples.mp
The source file for a few sample figures that are part of a LaTeX document $TEXMFMAIN/doc/metapost/mpintro.tex that describes the MetaPost system in a little more detail.
 

NOTES

This manual page is not meant to be exhaustive. The complete documentation for this version of MetaPost can be found in the info manual Web2C: A TeX implementation.  

SUGGESTED READING

Donald E. Knuth, The Metafontbook (Volume C of Computers and Typesetting), Addison-Wesley, 1986, ISBN 0-201-13445-4.
John D. Hobby, A User's Manual for MetaPost, CSTR 162, AT&T Bell Labs,
John D. Hobby, Drawing Graphs with MetaPost, CSTR 164, AT&T Bell Labs,
TUGboat (the journal of the TeX Users Group).  

SEE ALSO

tex(1), mf(1), dvips(1).  

AUTHORS

MetaPost was designed by John D. Hobby, incorporating algorithms from Metafont by Donald E. Knuth. It was originally implemented on Unix, incorporating system-dependent routines from web2c, while not relying on it except for the actual Web-to-C translator.

Ulrik Vieth adapted MetaPost to take advantage of the advanced path searching features in more recent versions of web2c and worked towards fully integrating MetaPost into the canonical Unix TeX distribution. He also updated and extended this manual page.  

TRIVIA

Unlike TeX and Metafont, MetaPost originally didn't use any fancy logo. John Hobby says he prefers the spelling ``MetaPost'', yet Don Knuth has updated the Metafont logo.mf font to be able to typeset a proper MetaPost logo similar to the Metafont logo. Feel free to use whatever you think is more appropriate!


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
OPTIONS
ENVIRONMENT
FILES
NOTES
SUGGESTED READING
SEE ALSO
AUTHORS
TRIVIA

linux.jgfs.net manual pages