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Manual Reference Pages  -  PDFLATEX (1)


pdftex - PDF output from TeX




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


Run the pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X 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 pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X commands can be given, the first of which must start with a backslash. With a &format argument pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X uses a different set of precompiled commands, contained in format.fmt; it is usually better to use the -fmt format option instead.

pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X is a version of T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X, with the e-T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X extensions, that can create PDF files as well as DVI files.

In DVI mode, pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X can be used as a complete replacement for the T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X engine.

The typical use of pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X is with a pregenerated formats for which PDF output has been enabled. The pdftex command uses the equivalent of the plain T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X format, and the pdflatex command uses the equivalent of the L\h’-0.36m’\v’-0.15v’A\h’-0.15m’\v’0.15v’T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X format. To generate formats, use the -ini switch.

The pdfinitex and pdfvirtex commands are pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X’s analogues to the initex and virtex commands. In this installation, if the links exist, they are symbolic links to the pdftex executable.

In PDF mode, pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X can natively handle the PDF, JPG, JBIG2, and PNG graphics formats. pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X cannot include PostScript or Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) graphics files; first convert them to PDF using epstopdf(1). pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X’s handling of its command-line arguments is similar to that of of the other T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X programs in the web2c implementation.


This version of pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X understands the following command line options.
  Sets \pdfdraftmode so pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X doesn’t write a PDF and doesn’t read any included images, thus speeding up execution.
-enc Enable the encT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X extensions. This option is only effective in combination with -ini. For documentation of the encT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X extensions see
-etex Enable the e-T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X extensions. This option is only effective in combination with -ini. See etex(1).
  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 pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X was called or a %& line.
  Exit with an error code when an error is encountered during processing.
-help Print help message and exit.
-ini 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.
-ipc 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.
-mltex Enable MLT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X 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
  Write output files in 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 pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X.
  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 pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X formats, you cannot use ~ in a filename you give directly to pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X, 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, pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X 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 pdftex paper and the current directory is not writable and TEXMFOUTPUT has the value /tmp, pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X attempts to create /tmp/paper.log (and /tmp/paper.pdf, if any output is produced.) TEXMFOUTPUT is also checked for input files, as T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X often generates files that need to be subsequently read; for input, no suffixes (such as ‘‘.tex’’) are added by default, the input name is simply checked as given.
  Search path for \input and \openin files. This should 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/user/tex:" to prepend the current directory and ‘‘/home/user/tex’’ to the standard search path.
  Search path for format files.
  search path for pdftex internal strings.
  Command template for switching to editor. The default, usually vi, is set when pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X 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 pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X’s internal strings.
  Filename mapping definitions.
*.tfm Metric files for pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X’s fonts.
*.fmt Predigested pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X format (.fmt) files.


Starting with version 1.40, pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X incorporates the e-T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X extensions, and pdfeT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X is just a copy of pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X. See etex(1). This manual page is not meant to be exhaustive. The complete documentation for this version of pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X can be found in the pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X manual and the info manual Web2C: A TeX implementation.


This version of pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X implements a number of optional extensions. In fact, many of these extensions conflict to a greater or lesser extent with the definition of pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X. When such extensions are enabled, the banner printed when pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X starts is changed to print pdfTeXk instead of pdfTeX.

This version of pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X 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.


pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X is available for a large variety of machine architectures and operation systems. pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X is part of all major T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X distributions.

Information on how to get pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X and related information is available at the pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X web site.

The following pdfeT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X related mailing list is available: This is a mailman list; to subscribe send a message containing subscribe to A web interface and list archives can be found at the mailing list web site.


epstopdf(1), etex(1), latex(1), luatex(1), mptopdf(1), tex(1), mf(1).,


The primary authors of pdfT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X are Han The Thanh, Petr Sojka, Jiri Zlatuska, and Peter Breitenlohner (eT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X).

T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X was designed by Donald E. Knuth, who implemented it using his WEB 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 T\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X distribution is that generated by the WEB to C system (web2c), originally written by Tomas Rokicki and Tim Morgan.

The encT\h’-0.1667m’\v’0.20v’E\v’-0.20v’\h’-0.125m’X extensions were written by Petr Olsak.

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Web2C 2015 PDFTEX (1) 27 April 2015

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