Name

miktex-mf — METAFONT, a language for font and logo design

Synopsis

miktex-mf [option...] [[command...] | [file]]

Description

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 several macro files. METAFONT looks at its command line to see what name it was called under. Both inimf and virmf are linked to the mf executable. When called as inimf (or when the --initialize 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 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; input
font

to start processing font.mf. (Or you can just say mf and give the other stuff on the next line.) Other control sequences, such as batchmode (for silent operation) can also appear. The name font will be the “job name”, and is used in forming output file names. If METAFONT doesn't get a file name in the first line, the job name is mfput. The default extension, .mf, can be overridden by specifying an extension explicitly.

A log of error messages goes into the file font.log. The output files are font.tfm and font.numbergf, 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 must be substituted. If the mode is not specified or is not valid, 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 job name. Examples 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.

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

Before font production can begin, it is necessary to set up the appropriate base files. The minimum set of components for font production for a given printengine is the plain.mf macro file and the local mode_def file. The macros in plain.mf can be studied in an appendix to The METAFONTbook; they were developed by Donald E. Knuth, and this file should never be altered. Each mode_def specification helps adapt fonts to a particular printengine. The local ones in use on this computer should be in modes.mf.

The e response to METAFONT's error prompt causes the default editor to start up at the current line of the current file. The configuration value Editor can be used to change the editor used. It may contain a string with %f indicating where the filename goes and %l indicating where the decimal line number (if any) goes.

A convenient file is null.mf, containing nothing. When METAFONT 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.

Online Graphics Output

You can see METAFONTs output without printing. Chapter 23 of The METAFONTbook describes what you can do. You enable screen ouput by giving --screen on the command-line.

Options

--alias=name

Pretend to be program name, i.e., set program (and memory dump) name to name. This may affect the search paths and other values used. Using this option is equivalent to copying the program file to name and invoking name.

--aux-directory=dir

Set the directory dir to which auxiliary files are written. Also look for input files in dir first, before along the normal search path.

--bistack-size=n

Set the size of the stack for bisection algorithms.

--buf-size=n

Set the the maximum number of characters simultaneously present in current lines of open files and in control sequences between \csname and \endcsname. TeX uses the buffer to contain input lines, but macro expansion works by writing material into the buffer and reparsing the line. As a consequence, certain constructs require the buffer to be very large, even though most documents can be handled with a small value.

--c-style-errors

Change the way, error messages are printed. The alternate style looks like error messages from many compilers and is easier to parse for some editors. This option implies \scrollmode.

--disable-installer

Disable automatic installation of packages. Specifying this option overrules settings in the MiKTeX configuration data store.

--disable-pipes

Disable input (output) from (to) child processes.

--dont-parse-first-line

Disable checking whether the first line of the main input file starts with %&.

--enable-installer

Enable automatic installation of packages. Specifying this option overrules settings in the MiKTeX configuration data store.

--enable-pipes

Enable input (output) from (to) child processes.

--error-line=n

Set the width of context lines on terminal error messages.

--half-error-line=n

Set the width of first lines of contexts in terminal error messages.

--halt-on-error

Quit after the first error.

--help

Give help and exit.

--hhelp

This option is only available on Windows systems: show the manual page in an HTML Help window and exit when the window is closed.

--include-directory=dir

Add the directory dir to the head of the list of directories to be searched for input files.

--initialize

Become the INI variant of the program.

--interaction=mode

Set the interaction mode. Must be one of batchmode, nonstopmode, scrollmode and errorstopmode. The meaning of these modes is the same as the corresponding commands.

--job-name=name

Set the name of the job (\jobname. This has an affect on the output file names.

--job-time=file

Set the time-stamp of all output files equal to file's time-stamp.

--lig-table-size=n

Set the maximum number of ligature/kern steps. Must be at least 255 and at most 32510.

--main-memory=n

Change the total size (in memory words) of the main memory array. Relevant only while creating memory dump files.

--max-print-line=n

Set the width of longest text lines output; should be at least 60.

--max-strings=n

Set the maximum number of strings.

--max-wiggle=n

Set the number of autorounded points per cycle.

--move-size=n

Set the the space for storing moves in a single octant.

--no-c-style-errors

Don't change the way, error messages are printed.

--output-directory=dir

Create output files in dir. This implies --include-directory=dir.

--param-size=n

Set the the maximum number of simultaneous macro parameters.

--parse-first-line

Check whether the first line of the main input file starts with %&, and parse if it does. This can be used to specify extra command-line options.

--path-size=n

Set the the maximum number of knots between breakpoints of a path.

--pool-size=n

Set the maximum number of characters in strings, including all error messages and help texts, and the names of all fonts and control sequences.

--quiet

Suppress all output, except errors.

--record-package-usages=file

Record all package usages and write them into file.

--recorder

Enable the file name recorder. This leaves a trace of the files opened for input and output in a file with the extension .fls.

--screen

Enable screen output.

--stack-size=n

Set the maximum number of simultaneous input sources.

--string-vacancies=n

Set the minimum number of characters that should be available for the user's control sequences and font names, after the compiler's own error messages are stored. Must be at least 25000 less than pool_size, but doesn't need to be nearly that large.

--tcx=name

Process the TCX table name.

--time-statistics

Show processing time statistics.

--trace[=tracestreams]

Enable trace messages. The tracestreams argument, if specified, is a comma-separated list of trace stream names (Chapter 9, Trace Streams).

--undump=name

Use name as the name of the format to be used, instead of the name by which the program was called or a

%&

line.

--version

Show version information and exit.

Environment

MFINPUTS

Extra paths to locate METAFONT input and openin files.

See also

The METAFONTbook

ISBN 0-201-13444-6