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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 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  Meta-
       fontbook, 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  explic-
       itly.

       A  log  of  error  messages goes into the file jobname.log.  The output files are jobname.tfm and jobname.<num-
       ber>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 refine-
       ment.  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 iden-
       tical 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 spe-
       cial 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 specifica-
       tion 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  Meta-
       fontbook  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 graph-
       ics 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  errorstop-
              mode.  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 nor-
              mal 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  -trans-
              late-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  environ-
       ment 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 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 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.



Web2C 7.5.6                    10 November 2001                          MF(1)