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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  MPOST (1)


mpost - MetaPost, a system for creating graphics




mpost [options] [commands]

mpost --dvitomp dvifile[.dvi] [mpxfile[.mpx]]


MetaPost interprets the MetaPost language and produces PostScript (EPS) or Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 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.

MetaPost is normally used with some preloaded macros, and it will use its executable name as the name of the preload file to use. For example, when called as mpost the file is used, which is identical to When the --ini option is given, preloading does not happen.

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 normal usage is to say mpost figs to process the file 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.

When the --dvitomp option is given, MetaPost acts as DVI-to-MPX converter only. See dvitomp (1) for details.

This manual page is not meant to be exhaustive. The complete documentation for this version of MetaPost can be found in the User Manual that should have been installed along with the program and is also available from See the FILES section below.

The MetaPost language is similar to METAFONT, but the manual assumes no knowledge of METAFONT. MetaPost does not have bitmap output commands or METAFONT’s online display mechanism.

  The standard preload file.
  The METAFONT-compatible preload file.
  The standard MetaPost macros included in the original distribution.
  Various tables for handling included tex and troff.
  Table of corresponding font names for troff and PostScript.
  Table of corresponding font names for tex and PostScript.
  The MetaPost manual and tutorial source, also including sample figures


Donald E. Knuth, The METAFONTbook (Volume C of Computers and Typesetting), Addison-Wesley, 1986, ISBN 0-201-13445-4.
TUGboat (the journal of the T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X Users Group).


dvitomp(1), epstopdf(1), mf(1), mptopdf(1), tex(1),

MetaPost source code \(laURL: \(ra.
MetaPost home page \(laURL: \(ra.


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.

The primary author of the current MetaPost was Taco Hoekwater, with assistance from Hans Hagen and many others. It is currently maintained by Luigi Scarso.

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 T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X distribution.


The MetaPost home page is

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Web2C 2015 MPOST (1) 27 April 2015

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