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1.7 Printed Books

A Texinfo file can be formatted and typeset as a printed book or manual. To do this, you need TeX, a sophisticated typesetting program written by Donald Knuth of Stanford University.

A Texinfo-based book is similar to any other typeset, printed work: it can have a title page, copyright page, table of contents, and preface, as well as chapters, numbered or unnumbered sections and subsections, page headers, cross references, footnotes, and indices.

TeX is a general purpose typesetting program. Texinfo provides a file ‘texinfo.tex’ that contains information (definitions or macros) that TeX uses when it typesets a Texinfo file. (‘texinfo.tex’ tells TeX how to convert the Texinfo @-commands to TeX commands, which TeX can then process to create the typeset document.) ‘texinfo.tex’ contains the specifications for printing a document. You can get the latest version of ‘texinfo.tex’ from the Texinfo home page, http://www.gnu.org/software/texinfo/.

In the United States, documents are most often printed on 8.5 inch by 11 inch pages (216mm by 280mm); this is the default size. But you can also print for 7 inch by 9.25 inch pages (178mm by 235mm, the @smallbook size; or on A4 or A5 size paper (@afourpaper, @afivepaper). See section @smallbook: Printing “Small” Books, and Printing on A4 Paper.

TeX is freely distributable. It is written in a superset of Pascal for literate programming called WEB and can be compiled either in Pascal or (by using a conversion program that comes with the TeX distribution) in C.

TeX is very powerful and has a great many features. Because a Texinfo file must be able to present information both on a character-only terminal in Info form and in a typeset book, the formatting commands that Texinfo supports are necessarily limited.

See section Obtaining TeX, for information on acquiring TeX. It is not part of the Texinfo distribution.


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