Manual Reference Pages - MF (1)
mf, mf-nowin, inimf - Metafont, a language for font and logo design
METAFONT reads the program in the specified files
and outputs font rasters (in
gf format) and font metrics (in
tfm format). The METAFONT
language is described in
is normally used with a large body of precompiled macros, and font generation
in particular requires the support of several macro files. This
version of METAFONT looks at its command line to see what name it was
called under. Both
virmf are symlinks to the
mf executable. When called as
inimf (or when the
-ini option is given) it can be used to precompile macros into a
.base file. When called as
virmf it will use the
plain base. When called under any other name, METAFONT will use that name as
the name of the base to use. For example, when called as
mf base is used, which is identical to the
plain base. Other bases than
plain are rarely used.
commands given on the command line to the METAFONT 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 METAFONTs favorite symbols, like semicolons, unless you
quote them.) As described in
The METAFONTbook, that first line should begin with a filename, a
\controlsequence, or a
The normal usage is to say
A convenient file in the library is
null.mf, containing nothing.
mf cant find the file it thinks you want to input, it keeps
asking you for another file name; responding null gets you out
of the loop if you dont want to input anything.
mf \mode=<printengine>; [mag=magstep(n);] input font
to start processing
font.mf. The single quotes are the best way of keeping the Unix
shell from misinterpreting the semicolons and
from removing the \ character, which is needed here to
keep METAFONT from thinking that you want to produce a font called
mode. (Or you can just say
mf and give the other stuff on the next line, without quotes.) Other
control sequences, such as
batchmode (for silent operation) can also appear.
font will be the jobname, and is used in forming
output file names.
If METAFONT doesnt get a file name in the first line,
the jobname is
mfput. The default extension,
.mf, can be overridden by specifying an extension explicitly.
A log of error messages goes into the file jobname.log.
The output files are jobname.tfm and
jobname.<number>gf, where <number> depends on
the resolution and magnification of the font. The
mode in this
example is shown generically as <printengine>, a symbolic term for which
the name of an actual device or, most commonly, the name
localfont (see below) must
be substituted. If the mode is not specified or is not valid for your
site, METAFONT will default to
proof mode which produces
large character images for use in font design and refinement. Proof
mode can be recognized by the suffix
.2602gf after the jobname. Examples of proof mode output can be found
Computer Modern Typefaces (Volume E of
Computers and Typesetting). The system of
magsteps is identical to the system used by
with values generally in the range 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0.
A listing of
gf numbers for 118-dpi, 240-dpi and 300-dpi fonts
is shown below.
|MAGSTEP||118 dpi||240 dpi||300 dpi|
Magnification can also be specified not as a magstep but as an
arbitrary value, such as 1.315, to create special character sizes.
Before font production can begin, it is necessary to set up the
appropriate base files. The minimum set of components for font
production for a given print-engine is the
plain.mf macro file
and the local
mode_def file. The macros in
plain.mf can be
studied in an appendix to the
METAFONTbook; they were developed by Donald E. Knuth, and this file should never be
altered except when it is officially upgraded.
mode_def specification helps adapt fonts to a particular print-engine.
There is a regular discussion of
TUGboat, the journal of the
The local ones in use on this computer should be in
e response to METAFONTs error-recovery mode invokes the
editor at the erroneous line of the source file.
There is an environment variable, MFEDIT,
that overrides the default editor.
It should contain a string with "%s" indicating where the
filename goes and "%d" indicating where the decimal linenumber (if any) goes.
For example, an MFEDIT string for the
vi editor can be set with the
setenv MFEDIT "vi +%d %s"
ONLINE GRAPHICS OUTPUT
METAFONT can use most modern displays, so you can see its output
without printing. Chapter 23 of
The METAFONTbook describes what you can do. This implementation of METAFONT uses
environment variables to determine which display device you want to use.
First it looks for a variable MFTERM, and then for TERM.
If it cant find either, you get no online output. Otherwise, the value
of the variable determines the device to use:
sun (for old SunView),
uniterm (for an Atari ST Tek 4014 emulator),
xterm (for either X10 or X11).
Some of these devices may not be supported in all METAFONT
executables; the choice is made at compilation time.
On some systems, there are two METAFONT binaries,
mf-nowin. On those systems the
mf binary supports graphics, while the
mf-nowin binary does not. The
mf-nowin binary is used by scripts like
mktexpk where graphics support is a nuisance rather than something helpful.
This version of METAFONT understands the following command line options.
-base base |
base as the name of the base to be used, instead of the name by which
METAFONT was called or a
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
This is the old name of the
Exit with an error code when an error is encountered during processing.
Print help message and exit.
inimf, for dumping bases; this is implicitly true if the program is called
-interaction mode |
Sets the interaction mode. The mode can be one of
errorstopmode. The meaning of these modes is the same as that of the corresponding
-jobname name |
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.
-maketex fmt |
fmt must be
-no-maketex fmt |
fmt must be
-output-directory directory |
Write output files in
directory instead of the current directory. Look up input files in
directory first, the along the normal search path.
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
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
-translate-file tcxname |
tcxname translation table.
Print version information and exit.
See the Kpathsearch library documentation (the Path specifications
node) for the details of how the environment variables are use when
kpsewhich utility can be used to query the values of the variables.
If the environment variable
TEXMFOUTPUT is set, METAFONT attempts to put its output
files in it, if they cannot be put in the current directory. Again, see
Search path for
Command template for switching to editor.
Determines the online graphics display. If MFTERM is not set,
and DISPLAY is set, the Metafont window support for X is used.
(DISPLAY must be set to a valid X server specification, as usual.)
If neither MFTERM nor DISPLAY is set, TERM is used to guess the window
support to use.
A number of utility programs are available.
The following is a partial list of available utilities and their purpose.
Consult your local METAFONT guru for details.
gf file and produces a more tightly packed
pk font file.
Produces proof sheets for fonts.
Displays the contents of a
gf file in mnemonics and/or images.
Mnemonically displays the contents of a
Formats a source file as shown in
Computer Modern Typefaces.
Encoded text of METAFONTs messages.
Predigested METAFONT base files.
The standard base.
The file of
mode_defs for your sites various printers
This manual page is not meant to be exhaustive. The complete
documentation for this version of METAFONT can be found in the info manual
Web2C: A TeX implementation.
On January 4, 1986 the final bug in METAFONT was discovered
and removed. If an error still lurks in the code, Donald E. Knuth promises to
pay a finders fee which doubles every year to the first person who finds
it. Happy hunting.
Donald E. Knuth,
The METAFONTbook (Volume C of
Computers and Typesetting), Addison-Wesley, 1986, ISBN 0-201-13445-4.
Donald E. Knuth,
METAFONT: The Program (Volume D of
Computers and Typesetting), Addison-Wesley, 1986, ISBN 0-201-13438-1.
Donald E. Knuth,
Computer Modern Typefaces (Volume E of
Computers and Typesetting), Addison-Wesley, 1986, ISBN 0-201-13446-2.
TUGboat (the journal of the T\h-0.1667m\v0.20vE\v-0.20v\h-0.125mX Users Group).
Warning: Type design can be hazardous to your other interests.
Once you get hooked, you will develop intense feelings about letterforms;
the medium will intrude on the messages that you read.
And you will perpetually be thinking of improvements to the fonts that
you see everywhere, especially those of your own design.
METAFONT was designed by Donald E. Knuth, who implemented it
using his WEB system for Pascal programs. It was originally
ported to Unix by Paul Richards at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. This page was mostly written by Pierre MacKay.
|Web2C 2015 ||MF (1) ||27 April 2015 |
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