MF(1)                                                                    MF(1)


       mf, mfw, inimf, virmf - Metafont, a language for font and logo design


       mf [options] [commands]


       This  manual page is not meant to be exhaustive.  The complete documen-
       tation for this version of TeX can be found in the info file or  manual
       Web2C: A TeX implementation.

       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 The Metafontbook.

       Like  TeX,  Metafont  is normally used with a large body of precompiled
       macros, and font generation in particular requires the support of  sev-
       eral  macro  files.  This version of Metafont looks at its command line
       to see what name it was called under.  Both inimf and  virmf  are  sym-
       links  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 the mf base is used, which is identical
       to the plain base.  Other bases than plain are rarely used.

       The 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 Metafont’s 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 &basename.

       The normal usage is to say

              mf  ’\mode=<printengine>; [mag=magstep(n);]’ input  font

       to start processing  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.  The name font will be the ‘‘jobname’’,  and  is  used  in
       forming  output file names.  If Metafont doesn’t 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.  Exam-
       ples of proof mode output can be found  in  Computer  Modern  Typefaces
       (Volume  E  of  Computers  and Typesetting).  The system of magsteps is
       identical to the system used by TeX, 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
                   mag=magstep(0)       118       240       300
                   mag=magstep(0.5)     129       263       329
                   mag=magstep(1)       142       288       360
                   mag=magstep(2)       170       346       432
                   mag=magstep(3)       204       415       518
                   mag=magstep(4)       245       498       622
                   mag=magstep(5)       294       597       746

       Magnification can also be specified not as a magstep but  as  an  arbi-
       trary value, such as 1.315, to create special character sizes.

       Before  font production can begin, it is necessary to set up the appro-
       priate base files.  The minimum set of components for  font  production
       for  a  given  print-engine  is  the macro file and the local
       mode_def file.  The macros in 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.   Each
       mode_def  specification helps adapt fonts to a particular print-engine.
       There is a regular discussion of mode_defs in TUGboat, the  journal  of
       the  TeX Users Group.  The local ones in use on this computer should be

       The e response to Metafont’s error-recovery  mode  invokes  the  system
       default  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 csh
              setenv MFEDIT "vi +%d %s"

       A convenient file in the library is, containing nothing.   When
       mf can’t 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 don’t want to input anything.


       Metafont  can use most modern displays, so you can see its output with-
       out 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 can’t find either, you get
       no online output.  Otherwise, the value of the variable determines  the
       device  to  use:  hp2627,  sun  (for old SunView), tek, 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 and mfw.  On those
       systems the mfw binary supports graphics, while the mf binary does not.


       This  version  of  Metafont  understands  the  following  command  line

       --base base
              Use base as the name of the base to be used, instead of the name
              by which Metafont was called or a %& line.

              Print error messages in the form file:line:error which is  simi-
              lar to the way many compilers format them.

       --help Print help message and exit.

       --ini  Be inimf, for dumping bases; this is implicitly true if the pro-
              gram is called as inimf.

       --interaction mode
              Sets the interaction mode.  The mode can be  one  of  batchmode,
              nonstopmode,  scrollmode,  and  errorstopmode.   The  meaning of
              these modes is the same as that of the corresponding commands.

       --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.

       --maketex fmt
              Enable mktexfmt, where fmt must be mf.

       --no-maketex fmt
              Disable mktexfmt, where fmt must be mf.

              If the first line of the main input file begins with %& parse it
              to look for a dump name or a --translate-file option.

       --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.

       --translate-file tcxname
              Use the 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
       searching.   The  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 direc-
       tory.  Again, see tex(1).

              Search path for input and openin files.

       MFEDIT Command template for switching to editor.

       MFTERM 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.

       gftopk   Takes a gf file and produces a more  tightly  packed  pk  font

       gftodvi  Produces proof sheets for fonts.

       gftype   Displays the contents of a gf file in mnemonics and/or images.

       pktype   Mnemonically displays the contents of a pk file.

       mft      Formats a source file as shown in Computer Modern Typefaces.


              Encoded text of Metafont’s messages.

       *.base Predigested Metafont base files.

              The standard base.

              The file of mode_defs for your site’s various printers


       Donald E. Knuth, The Metafontbook (Volume C of Computers  and  Typeset-
       ting), Addison-Wesley, 1986, ISBN 0-201-13445-4.
       Donald E. Knuth, Metafont: The Program (Volume D of Computers and Type-
       setting), 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 TeX 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.’’


       gftopk(1), gftodvi(1), gftype(1), mft(1), pltotf(1), tftopl(1).


       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 finder’s fee which doubles every year to the first person who
       finds it.  Happy hunting.


       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 7.4.5                    10 November 2001                          MF(1)

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