miktex-tex — text formatting and typesetting


miktex-tex [option...] [[file] | [\command...]]


This man page is an adaption of the corresponding TeX Live man page.

Run the TeX typesetter on file, usually creating file.dvi. If the file argument has no extension, .tex will be appended to it. Instead of a filename, a set of TeX commands can be given, the first of which must start with a backslash. With a &format argument TeX uses a different set of precompiled commands, contained in format.fmt; it is usually better to use the -undump=format option instead.

TeX formats the interspersed text and commands contained in the named files and outputs a typesetter independent file (called DVI, which is short for DeVice Independent). TeX's capabilities and language are described in The TeXbook. TeX is normally used with a large body of precompiled macros, and there are several specific formatting systems, such as LaTeX, which require the support of several macro files.

This version of TeX looks at its command-line to see what name it was called under. Both initex and virtex are links to the miktex-tex executable. When called as initex (or when the -initialize option is given) it can be used to precompile macros into a .fmt file. When called as virtex it will use the plain format. When called under any other name, TeX will use that name as the name of the format to use. For example, when called as miktex-tex the tex format is used, which is identical to the plain format. The commands defined by the plain format are documented in The TeXbook. Other formats that are often available include latex and amstex.

The non-option command line argiments to the TeX 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 TeX's favorite symbols, like backslashes, unless you quote them.) As described in The TeXbook, that first line should begin with a file name, a \controlsequence, or a &formatname.

The normal usage is to say miktex-tex paper to start processing paper.tex. The name paper will be the jobname, and is used in forming output file names. If TeX doesn't get a file name in the first line, the job name is texput. When looking for a file, TeX looks for the name with and without the default extension (.tex) appended, unless the name already contains that extension. If paper is the jobname, a log of error messages, with rather more detail than normally appears on the screen, will appear in paper.log, and the output file will be in paper.dvi.

This version of TeX will look in the first line of the file paper.tex to see if it begins with the magic sequence %&. If the first line begins with %&format --translate-file tcxname, then TeX will use the named format and transation table tcxname to process the source file. Either the format name or the --translate-file specification may be omitted, but not both. This overrides the format selection based on the name by which the program is invoked. The -parse-first-line option or the parse_first_line configuration value controls whether this behaviour is enabled.

The e response to TeX's error-recovery prompt causes the default editor to start up at the current line of the current file. The configuration value [Core]Editor can be used to change the editor used. It may contain a string with %f indicating where the file name goes and %l indicating where the decimal line number (if any) goes. For example, an [Core]Editor string for emacs can be set with the command

> initexmf --set-config-value="[Core]Editor=emacs +%l %f"

A convenient file is null.tex, containing nothing. When TeX can't find a 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. You can also type your EOF character (usually Control+Z).



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.


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


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.


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.


Make only 7-bit characters printable.


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


Disable the \write18{command} construct.


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


Make all characters printable.


Enable encTeX extensions such as \mubyte.


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


Enable MLTeX extensions such as \charsubdef.


Fully enable the \write18{command} construct. It is only partially enabled by default to avoid security problems. When fully enabled, the command (which undergoes the usual TeX expansions) is passed to the command interpreter. The output of the command is not diverted anywhere, so it will not appear in the log file. The command execution either happens at \output time or right away, according to the absence or presence of the \immediate prefix.


Set the width of context lines on terminal error messages.


Set the extra size (in memory words) for large data structures like boxes, glue, breakpoints, et al. Relevant only after the memory dump file has been read.


Set the extra size (in memory words) for chars, tokens, et al. Relevant only after the memory dump file has been read.


Set the maximum internal font number.


Set the size, in TeX memory words, of the font memory.


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


Quit after the first error.


Set the extra space for the hash table of control sequences (which allows 10K names as distributed).


Give help and exit.


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


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


Become the INI variant of the program.


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.


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


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


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


Set the maximum number of input files and error insertions that can be going on simultaneously.


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


Set the maximum number of strings.


Set the maximum number of semantic levels simultaneously active.


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


Write output files in dir. instead of the current directory. Look up input files in dir first, then along the normal search path.


Set the the maximum number of simultaneous macro parameters.


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.


Set the minimum pool space left after loading the format.


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


Suppress all output, except errors.


Record all package usages and write them into file.


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


Partially enable the \write18{command} construct.


Set the the amount of space for saving values outside of current group.


Embed source file information (source specials) in the DVI file.


Set the maximum number of simultaneous input sources.


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.


Use the tcxname translation table to set the mapping of input characters and re-mapping of output characters.


Show processing time statistics.


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


Set the amount of space for hyphenation patterns.


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




Show version information and exit.



The editor to use when selecting e in the error prompt menu.

The value can contain these placesholder:


The name of the file, which contains the erroneous line of TeX code.


The line number.


Comma-separated list of trace stream names (see Chapter 9, Trace Streams). If this variable is set, then MiKTeX programs will write trace messages into the configured log sink.


Extra paths to locate TeX \input and \openin files.


Extra paths to locate TeX font metric files


This version of TeX implements a number of optional extensions. In fact, many of these extensions conflict to a greater or lesser extent with the definition of TeX. This version of TeX 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.

See Also


978-0201134476. The TeXbook. Donald E. Knuth. Addison-Wesley. 1986.