mf



MF(1)                                                                    MF(1)




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 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  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.   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  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  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.


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  simi-
              lar 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 pro-
              cessing.

       -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
              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 direc-
       tory.  Again, see tex(1).

       MFINPUTS
              Search path for input and openin 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  documen-
       tation  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 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).


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.



Web2C 7.5.4                    10 November 2001                          MF(1)

Man(1) output converted with man2html