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Format and Print Hardcopy

There are three major shell commands for making a printed manual from a Texinfo file: one for converting the Texinfo file into a file that will be printed, a second for sorting indices, and a third for printing the formatted document. When you use the shell commands, you can either work directly in the operating system shell or work within a shell inside GNU Emacs.

If you are using GNU Emacs, you can use commands provided by Texinfo mode instead of shell commands. In addition to the three commands to format a file, sort the indices, and print the result, Texinfo mode offers key bindings for commands to recenter the output buffer, show the print queue, and delete a job from the print queue.

The typesetting program called TeX is used for formatting a Texinfo file. TeX is a very powerful typesetting program and, if used right, does an exceptionally good job. (See section How to Obtain TeX, for information on how to obtain TeX.)

The makeinfo, texinfo-format-region, and texinfo-format-buffer commands read the very same @-commands in the Texinfo file as does TeX, but process them differently to make an Info file; see section Creating an Info File.

Format using tex and texindex

Format the Texinfo file with the shell command tex followed by the name of the Texinfo file. For example:

tex foo.texi

TeX will produce a DVI file as well as several auxiliary files containing information for indices, cross references, etc. The DVI file (for DeVice Independent file) can be printed on virtually any printe (see the following sections).

The tex formatting command itself does not sort the indices; it writes an output file of unsorted index data. (The texi2dvi command automatically generates indices; see section Format using texi2dvi.) To generate a printed index after running the tex command, you first need a sorted index to work from. The texindex command sorts indices. (The source file `texindex.c' comes as part of the standard Texinfo distribution, among other places.)

The tex formatting command outputs unsorted index files under names that obey a standard convention: the name of your main input file with any `.tex' (or similar, see section `tex invocation' in Web2c) extension removed, followed by the two letter names of indices. For example, the raw index output files for the input file `foo.texinfo' would be `foo.cp', `foo.vr', `foo.fn', `foo.tp', `foo.pg' and `foo.ky'. Those are exactly the arguments to give to texindex.

Instead of specifying all the unsorted index file names explicitly, you can use `??' as shell wildcards and give the command in this form:

texindex foo.??

This command will run texindex on all the unsorted index files, including any that you have defined yourself using @defindex or @defcodeindex. (You may execute `texindex foo.??' even if there are similarly named files with two letter extensions that are not index files, such as `foo.el'. The texindex command reports but otherwise ignores such files.)

For each file specified, texindex generates a sorted index file whose name is made by appending `s' to the input file name. The @printindex command knows to look for a file of that name (see section Index Menus and Printing an Index). texindex does not alter the raw index output file.

After you have sorted the indices, you need to rerun the tex formatting command on the Texinfo file. This regenerates the DVI file, this time with up-to-date index entries.

Finally, you may need to run tex one more time, to get the page numbers in the cross-references correct.

To summarize, this is a four step process:

  1. Run tex on your Texinfo file. This generates a DVI file (with undefined cross-references and no indices), and the raw index files (with two letter extensions).
  2. Run texindex on the raw index files. This creates the corresponding sorted index files (with three letter extensions).
  3. Run tex again on your Texinfo file. This regenerates the DVI file, this time with indices and defined cross-references, but with page numbers for the cross-references from last time, generally incorrect.
  4. Run tex one last time. This time the correct page numbers are written for the cross-references.

Alternatively, it's a one-step process: run texi2dvi.

You need not run texindex each time after you run tex. If you do not, on the next run, the tex formatting command will use whatever sorted index files happen to exist from the previous use of texindex. This is usually ok while you are debugging.

Format using texi2dvi

The texi2dvi command automatically runs both tex and texindex as many times as necessary to produce a DVI file with up-to-date, sorted indices. It simplifies the tex---texindex---tex sequence described in the previous section.

The syntax for texi2dvi is like this (where `prompt$' is your shell prompt):

prompt$ texi2dvi filename...

For a list of options, run `texi2dvi --help'.

Shell Print Using lpr -d

The precise command to print a DVI file depends on your system installation, but `lpr -d' is common. The command may require the DVI file name without any extension or with a `.dvi' extension. (If it is `lpr', you must include the `.dvi'.)

The following commands, for example, will (probably) suffice to sort the indices, format, and print the Bison Manual:

tex bison.texinfo
texindex bison.??
tex bison.texinfo
lpr -d bison.dvi

(Remember that the shell commands may be different at your site; but these are commonly used versions.)

Using the texi2dvi shell script, you simply need type:

texi2dvi bison.texinfo
lpr -d bison.dvi

From an Emacs Shell

You can give formatting and printing commands from a shell within GNU Emacs. To create a shell within Emacs, type M-x shell. In this shell, you can format and print the document. See section Format and Print Hardcopy, for details.

You can switch to and from the shell buffer while tex is running and do other editing. If you are formatting a long document on a slow machine, this can be very convenient.

You can also use texi2dvi from an Emacs shell. For example, here is how to use texi2dvi to format and print Using and Porting GNU CC from a shell within Emacs:

texi2dvi gcc.texinfo
lpr -d gcc.dvi

Formatting and Printing in Texinfo Mode

Texinfo mode provides several predefined key commands for TeX formatting and printing. These include commands for sorting indices, looking at the printer queue, killing the formatting job, and recentering the display of the buffer in which the operations occur.

C-c C-t C-b
M-x texinfo-tex-buffer
Run texi2dvi on the current buffer.
C-c C-t C-r
M-x texinfo-tex-region
Run TeX on the current region.
C-c C-t C-i
M-x texinfo-texindex
Sort the indices of a Texinfo file formatted with texinfo-tex-region.
C-c C-t C-p
M-x texinfo-tex-print
Print a DVI file that was made with texinfo-tex-region or texinfo-tex-buffer.
C-c C-t C-q
M-x tex-show-print-queue
Show the print queue.
C-c C-t C-d
M-x texinfo-delete-from-print-queue
Delete a job from the print queue; you will be prompted for the job number shown by a preceding C-c C-t C-q command (texinfo-show-tex-print-queue).
C-c C-t C-k
M-x tex-kill-job
Kill the currently running TeX job started by texinfo-tex-region or texinfo-tex-buffer, or any other process running in the Texinfo shell buffer.
C-c C-t C-x
M-x texinfo-quit-job
Quit a TeX formatting job that has stopped because of an error by sending an x to it. When you do this, TeX preserves a record of what it did in a `.log' file.
C-c C-t C-l
M-x tex-recenter-output-buffer
Redisplay the shell buffer in which the TeX printing and formatting commands are run to show its most recent output.

Thus, the usual sequence of commands for formatting a buffer is as follows (with comments to the right):

C-c C-t C-b             Run texi2dvi on the buffer.
C-c C-t C-p             Print the DVI file.
C-c C-t C-q             Display the printer queue.

The Texinfo mode TeX formatting commands start a subshell in Emacs called the `*tex-shell*'. The texinfo-tex-command, texinfo-texindex-command, and tex-dvi-print-command commands are all run in this shell.

You can watch the commands operate in the `*tex-shell*' buffer, and you can switch to and from and use the `*tex-shell*' buffer as you would any other shell buffer.

The formatting and print commands depend on the values of several variables. The default values are:

     Variable                              Default value

texinfo-texi2dvi-command                  "texi2dvi"
texinfo-tex-command                       "tex"
texinfo-texindex-command                  "texindex"
texinfo-delete-from-print-queue-command   "lprm"
texinfo-tex-trailer                       "@bye"
tex-start-of-header                       "%**start"
tex-end-of-header                         "%**end"
tex-dvi-print-command                     "lpr -d"
tex-show-queue-command                    "lpq"

You can change the values of these variables with the M-x edit-options command (see section `Editing Variable Values' in The GNU Emacs Manual), with the M-x set-variable command (see section `Examining and Setting Variables' in The GNU Emacs Manual), or with your `.emacs' initialization file (see section `Init File' in The GNU Emacs Manual).

Using the Local Variables List

Yet another way to apply the TeX formatting command to a Texinfo file is to put that command in a local variables list at the end of the Texinfo file. You can then specify the tex or texi2dvi commands as a compile-command and have Emacs run it by typing M-x compile. This creates a special shell called the `*compilation*' buffer in which Emacs runs the compile command. For example, at the end of the `gdb.texinfo' file, after the @bye, you could put the following:

Local Variables:
compile-command: "texi2dvi gdb.texinfo"

This technique is most often used by programmers who also compile programs this way; see section `Compilation' in The GNU Emacs Manual.

TeX Formatting Requirements Summary

Every Texinfo file that is to be input to TeX must begin with a \input command and must contain an @setfilename command:

\input texinfo
@setfilename arg-not-used-by-TeX

The first command instructs TeX to load the macros it needs to process a Texinfo file and the second command opens auxiliary files.

Every Texinfo file must end with a line that terminates TeX's processing and forces out unfinished pages:


Strictly speaking, these lines are all a Texinfo file needs to be processed successfully by TeX.

Usually, however, the beginning includes an @settitle command to define the title of the printed manual, an @setchapternewpage command, a title page, a copyright page, and permissions. Besides an @bye, the end of a file usually includes indices and a table of contents. (And of course most manuals contain a body of text as well.)

For more information, see section @settitle, section @setchapternewpage, section Page Headings, section The Title and Copyright Pages, section Index Menus and Printing an Index, and section Generating a Table of Contents.

Preparing to Use TeX

TeX needs to know where to find the `texinfo.tex' file that you have told it to input with the `\input texinfo' command at the beginning of the first line. The `texinfo.tex' file tells TeX how to handle @-commands; it is included in all standard GNU distributions.

Usually, the `texinfo.tex' file is put under the default directory that contains TeX macros (`/usr/local/share/texmf/tex/texinfo/texinfo.tex' by default) when GNU Emacs or other GNU software is installed. In this case, TeX will find the file and you do not need to do anything special. Alternatively, you can put `texinfo.tex' in the current directory when you run TeX, and TeX will find it there.

Also, you should install `epsf.tex' in the same place as `texinfo.tex', if it is not already installed from another distribution. This file is needed to support the @image command (see section Inserting Images).

Optionally, you may create an additional `texinfo.cnf', and install it as well. This file is read by TeX at the @setfilename command (see section @setfilename). You can put any commands you like there according to local site-wide conventions, and they will be read by TeX when processing any Texinfo document. For example, if `texinfo.cnf' contains the a single line `@afourpaper' (see section Printing on A4 Paper), then all Texinfo documents will be processed with that page size in effect. If you have nothing to put in `texinfo.cnf', you do not need to create it.

If neither of the above locations for these system files suffice for you, you can specify the directories explicitly. For `texinfo.tex', you can do this by writing the complete path for the file after the \input command. Another way, that works for both `texinfo.tex' and `texinfo.cnf' (and any other file TeX might read), is to set the TEXINPUTS environment variable in your `.cshrc' or `.profile' file.

Which you use of `.cshrc' or `.profile' depends on whether you use a Bourne shell-compatible (sh, bash, ksh, ...) or C shell-compatible (csh, tcsh) command interpreter. The latter read the `.cshrc' file for initialization information, and the former read `.profile'.

In a `.cshrc' file, you could use the following csh command sequence:

setenv TEXINPUTS .:/home/me/mylib:/usr/lib/tex/macros

In a `.profile' file, you could use the following sh command sequence:


This would cause TeX to look for `\input' file first in the current directory, indicated by the `.', then in a hypothetical user's `me/mylib' directory, and finally in a system directory.

Overfull "hboxes"

TeX is sometimes unable to typeset a line without extending it into the right margin. This can occur when TeX comes upon what it interprets as a long word that it cannot hyphenate, such as an electronic mail network address or a very long title. When this happens, TeX prints an error message like this:

Overfull \hbox (20.76302pt too wide)

(In TeX, lines are in "horizontal boxes", hence the term, "hbox". The backslash, `\', is the TeX equivalent of `@'.)

TeX also provides the line number in the Texinfo source file and the text of the offending line, which is marked at all the places that TeX knows how to hyphenate words. See section Catching Errors with TeX Formatting, for more information about typesetting errors.

If the Texinfo file has an overfull hbox, you can rewrite the sentence so the overfull hbox does not occur, or you can decide to leave it. A small excursion into the right margin often does not matter and may not even be noticeable.

However, unless told otherwise, TeX will print a large, ugly, black rectangle beside the line that contains the overfull hbox. This is so you will notice the location of the problem if you are correcting a draft.

To prevent such a monstrosity from marring your final printout, write the following in the beginning of the Texinfo file on a line of its own, before the @titlepage command:


Printing "Small" Books

By default, TeX typesets pages for printing in an 8.5 by 11 inch format. However, you can direct TeX to typeset a document in a 7 by 9.25 inch format that is suitable for bound books by inserting the following command on a line by itself at the beginning of the Texinfo file, before the title page:


(Since regular sized books are often about 7 by 9.25 inches, this command might better have been called the @regularbooksize command, but it came to be called the @smallbook command by comparison to the 8.5 by 11 inch format.)

If you write the @smallbook command between the start-of-header and end-of-header lines, the Texinfo mode TeX region formatting command, texinfo-tex-region, will format the region in "small" book size (see section Start of Header).

The Free Software Foundation distributes printed copies of The GNU Emacs Manual and other manuals in the "small" book size. See section @smallexample and @smalllisp, for information about commands that make it easier to produce examples for a smaller manual.

Alternatively, to avoid embedding this physical paper size in your document, use texi2dvi to format your document (see section Format using texi2dvi), and supply `-t @smallbook' as an argument. Then other people do not have to change the document source file to format it differently.

Printing on A4 Paper

You can tell TeX to typeset a document for printing on European size A4 paper with the @afourpaper command. Write the command on a line by itself between @iftex and @end iftex lines near the beginning of the Texinfo file, before the title page:

For example, this is how you would write the header for this manual:

\input texinfo    @c -*-texinfo-*-
@c %**start of header
@setfilename texinfo
@settitle Texinfo
@syncodeindex vr fn
@end iftex
@c %**end of header

Alternatively, to avoid embedding this physical paper size in your document, use texi2dvi to format your document (see section Format using texi2dvi), and supply `-t @afourpaper' as an argument. Then other people do not have to change the document source file to format it differently.

Another alternative: put the @afourpaper command in the file `texinfo.cnf' that TeX will read. (No need for @iftex there.) This will automatically typeset all the Texinfo documents at your site with that paper size in effect.

Cropmarks and Magnification

You can attempt to direct TeX to print cropmarks at the corners of pages with the @cropmarks command. Write the @cropmarks command on a line by itself between @iftex and @end iftex lines near the beginning of the Texinfo file, before the title page, like this:

@end iftex

This command is mainly for printers that typeset several pages on one sheet of film; but you can attempt to use it to mark the corners of a book set to 7 by 9.25 inches with the @smallbook command. (Printers will not produce cropmarks for regular sized output that is printed on regular sized paper.) Since different printing machines work in different ways, you should explore the use of this command with a spirit of adventure. You may have to redefine the command in the `texinfo.tex' definitions file.

You can attempt to direct TeX to typeset pages larger or smaller than usual with the \mag TeX command. Everything that is typeset is scaled proportionally larger or smaller. (\mag stands for "magnification".) This is not a Texinfo @-command, but is a plain TeX command that is prefixed with a backslash. You have to write this command between @tex and @end tex (see section Raw Formatter Commands).

Follow the \mag command with an `=' and then a number that is 1000 times the magnification you desire. For example, to print pages at 1.2 normal size, write the following near the beginning of the Texinfo file, before the title page:

@end tex

With some printing technologies, you can print normal-sized copies that look better than usual by using a larger-than-normal master.

Depending on your system, \mag may not work or may work only at certain magnifications. Be prepared to experiment.

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