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mf(1)                                                                    mf(1)


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


       mf [options] [commands]


       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 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

       -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.

       -cnf-line string
              Parse  string as a texmf.cnf configuration line.  See the Kpath-
              sea manual.

              Print error messages in the form file:line:error which is  simi-
              lar 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.

              Exit with an error code when an error is encountered during pro-

       -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.

       -output-directory directory
              Write  output  files  in directory instead of the current direc-
              tory.  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 -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.

       -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 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


       This  manual page is not meant to be exhaustive.  The complete documen-
       tation 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 finder's fee which doubles every year to the first person who
       finds it.  Happy hunting.


       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),   mpost(1),  pltotf(1),


       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 2020                       6 August 2019                           mf(1)

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