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NAME

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

SYNOPSIS

       mf [options] [commands]

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.  This version of
       Metafont looks at its command line to see what name it was called under.  Both  inimf  and
       virmf are symlinks 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 font.mf.  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.
       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.  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 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 print-engine 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 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 in modes.mf.

       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 command
              setenv MFEDIT "vi +%d %s"

       A convenient file in the library is null.mf, 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.

ONLINE GRAPHICS OUTPUT

       Metafont can use most modern displays,  so  you  can  see  its  output  without  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.

OPTIONS

       This version of Metafont understands the following command line options.

       -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.

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

       -no-file-line-error
              Disable printing error messages in the file:line:error style.

       -file-line-error-style
              This is the old name of the -file-line-error option.

       -halt-on-error
              Exit with an error code when an error is encountered during processing.

       -help  Print help message and exit.

       -ini   Be inimf, for dumping bases; this is implicitly true if the program  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 directory.   Look  up  input
              files in directory first, the along the normal search path.

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

       -no-parse-first-line
              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.

       -recorder
              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.

       -version
              Print version information and exit.

ENVIRONMENT

       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 directory.  Again, see tex(1).

       MFINPUTS
              Search path for input and opening 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.

FONT UTILITIES

       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 file.

       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.

FILES

       mf.pool
              Encoded text of Metafont's messages.

       *.base Predigested Metafont base files.

       $TEXMFMAIN/metafont/base/plain.mf
              The standard base.

       $TEXMFMAIN/metafont/misc/modes.mf
              The file of mode_defs for your site's various printers

NOTES

       This  manual  page  is  not  meant  to be exhaustive.  The complete documentation for this
       version of Metafont can be found in the info manual Web2C: A TeX implementation.

BUGS

       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.

SUGGESTED READING

       Donald E. Knuth, The Metafontbook (Volume C of Computers and Typesetting), Addison-Wesley,
       1986, ISBN 0-201-13445-4.
       Donald  E.  Knuth, Metafont: The Program (Volume D of Computers and Typesetting), 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).

COMMENTS

       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.''

SEE ALSO

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

AUTHORS

       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.