Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: 25 March 2004
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pdfxtex, pdfxinitex, pdfxvirtex - PDF output from e-TeX  


pdfxtex [options] [& format ] [ file | \ commands ]  


Run the pdfxTeX typesetter on file, usually creating file.pdf. If the file argument has no extension, ".tex" will be appended to it. Instead of a filename, a set of pdfxTeX commands can be given, the first of which must start with a backslash. With a &format argument pdfxTeX uses a different set of precompiled commands, contained in format.fmt; it is usually better to use the -fmt format option instead.

pdfxTeX is a version of e-TeX that can create PDF files as well as DVI files.

In DVI mode, pdfxTeX can be used as a complete replacement of the e-TeX engine.

The typical use of pdfxTeX is with a pregenerated formats for which PDF output has been enabled. The pdfxtex command uses the equivalent of the plain e-TeX format, and the pdfxlatex command uses the equivalent of the e-LaTeX format. To generate formats, use the -ini switch.

The pdfxinitex and pdfxvirtex commands are pdfxTeX's analogues to the einitex and evirtex commands. In this installation, they are symbolic links to the pdfxtex executable. These symbolic links may not exist at all.

In PDF mode, pdfxTeX can natively handle the PDF, JPG, and PNG graphics formats. pdfxTeX's handling of its command-line arguments is similar to that of of the other TeX programs in the web2c implementation.  


This version of pdfxTeX understands the following command line options.
Enable the encTeX extensions. This option is only effective in combination with -ini. For documentation of the encTeX extensions see http://www.olsak.net/enctex.html.
Print error messages in the form file:line:error which is similar to the way many compilers format them.
Disable printing error messages in the file:line:error style.
This is the old name of the -file-line-error option.
-fmt format
Use format as the name of the format to be used, instead of the name by which pdfxTeX was called or a %& line.
Exit with an error code when an error is encountered during processing.
Print help message and exit.
Start in INI mode, which is used to dump formats. The INI 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 batchmode, nonstopmode, scrollmode, and errorstopmode. The meaning of these modes is the same as that of the corresponding \commands.
Send DVI or PDF output to a socket as well as the usual output file. Whether this option is available is the choice of the installer.
As -ipc, and starts the server at the other end as well. Whether this option is available is the choice of the installer.
-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.
-mktex fmt
Enable mktexfmt, where fmt must be either tex or tfm.
Enable MLTeX extensions. Only effective in combination with -ini.
-no-mktex fmt
Disable mktexfmt, where fmt must be either tex or tfm.
-output-comment string
In DVI mode, use string for the DVI file comment instead of the date. This option is ignored in PDF mode.
-output-directory directory
directory instead of the current directory. Look up input files in directory first, the along the normal search path.
-output-format format
Set the output format mode, where format must be either pdf or dvi. This also influences the set of graphics formats understood by pdfxTeX.
If the first line of the main input file begins with %& parse it to look for a dump name or a -translate-file option.
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.
Enable the filename recorder. This leaves a trace of the files opened for input and output in a file with extension .fls.
Enable the \write18{command} construct. The command can be any shell command. This construct is normally disallowed for security reasons.
Disable the \write18{command} construct, even if it is enabled in the texmf.cnf file.
In DVI mode, insert source specials into the DVI file. This option is ignored in PDF mode.
-src-specials where
In DVI mode, insert source specials in certain placed of the DVI file. where is a comma-separated value list: cr, display, hbox, math, par, parent, or vbox. This option is ignored in PDF mode.
-translate-file tcxname
Use the tcxname translation table to set the mapping of input characters and re-mapping of output characters.
-default-translate-file tcxname
Like -translate-file 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. The kpsewhich utility can be used to query the values of the variables.

One caveat: In most pdfxTeX formats, you cannot use ~ in a filename you give directly to pdfxTeX, 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, pdfxTeX 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 pdfxtex paper and the current directory is not writable, if TEXMFOUTPUT has the value /tmp, pdfxTeX attempts to create /tmp/paper.log (and /tmp/paper.pdf, if any output is produced.)
Search path for \input and \openin files. This should 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 texmf.cnf file. For example, set TEXINPUTS to ".:/home/usr/tex:" to prepend the current direcory and ``/home/user/tex'' to the standard search path.
Search path for format files.
search path for pdfxtex internal strings.
Command template for switching to editor. The default, usually vi, is set when pdfxTeX is compiled.
Search path for font metric (.tfm) files.


The location of the files mentioned below varies from system to system. Use the kpsewhich utility to find their locations.
Text file containing pdfxTeX's internal strings.
Filename mapping definitions.
Metric files for pdfxTeX's fonts.
Predigested pdfxTeX format (.fmt) files.


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


This version of pdfxTeX implements a number of optional extensions. In fact, many of these extensions conflict to a greater or lesser extent with the definition of pdfxTeX. When such extensions are enabled, the banner printed when pdfxTeX starts is changed to print pdfxTeXk instead of pdfxTeX.

This version of pdfxTeX fails to trap arithmetic overflow when dimensions are added or subtracted. Cases where this occurs are rare, but when it does the generated DVI file will be invalid. Whether a generated PDF file would be usable is unknown.  


pdfxTeX is available for a large variety of machine architectures and operation systems. pdfxTeX is part of all major TeX distributions. Information on how to get pdfxTeX and related information is available at the http://tug.org TUG website. The most recent version of pdfxTeX is available for anonymous ftp at the http://www.pdftex.de/tex/pdftex/ pdfxTeX development site. The following pdfxTeX related mailing list is available: pdftex@tug.org. This is a mailman list; to subscribe send a message containing subscribe to pdftex-request@tug.org. More about the list can be found at the http://tug.org/mailman/listinfo/pdftex mailing list website.  


tex(1), mf(1), etex(1), pdftex(1).  


The primary authors of pdfTeX are Han The Thanh, Petr Sojka, and Jiri Zlatuska.

TeX was designed by Donald E. Knuth, who implemented it using his 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 to C system (web2c), originally written by Tomas Rokicki and Tim Morgan.

The encTeX extensions were written by Petr Olsak.




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