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21.9 Preparing for TeX

TeX needs to know where to find the ‘texinfo.tex’ file that the ‘\input texinfo’ command on the first line reads. The ‘texinfo.tex’ file tells TeX how to handle @-commands; it is included in all standard GNU distributions. The latest version is always available from the Texinfo source repository:

Usually, the installer has put the ‘texinfo.tex’ file in the default directory that contains TeX macros when GNU Texinfo, Emacs or other GNU software is installed. In this case, TeX will find the file and you do not need to do anything special. If this has not been done, you can put ‘texinfo.tex’ in the current directory when you run TeX, and TeX will find it there.

Also, you should install ‘epsf.tex’, if it is not already installed from another distribution. More details are at the end of the description of the @image command (see section Inserting Images).

To be able to use quotation marks other than those used in English you’ll need to install European Computer Modern fonts and optionally CM-Super fonts, unless they are already installed (see section Inserting Quotation Marks).

If you intend to use the @euro command, you should install the Euro font, if it is not already installed. See section @euro (€): Euro Currency Symbol.

Optionally, you may create a file ‘texinfo.cnf’ for site configuration. This file is read by TeX when the @setfilename command is executed (see section @setfilename: Set the Output File Name). You can put any commands you like there, according to local site-wide conventions. They will be read by TeX when processing any Texinfo document. For example, if ‘texinfo.cnf’ contains the line ‘@afourpaper’ (see section Printing on A4 Paper), then all Texinfo documents will be processed with that page size in effect. If you have nothing to put in ‘texinfo.cnf’, you do not need to create it.

If neither of the above locations for these system files suffice for you, you can specify the directories explicitly. For ‘texinfo.tex’, you can do this by writing the complete path for the file after the \input command. Another way, that works for both ‘texinfo.tex’ and ‘texinfo.cnf’ (and any other file TeX might read), is to set the TEXINPUTS environment variable in your ‘.profile’ or ‘.cshrc’ file.

Whether you use ‘.profile’ or ‘.cshrc’ depends on whether you use a Bourne shell-compatible (sh, bash, ksh, …) or C shell-compatible (csh, tcsh) command interpreter, respeictvely.

In a ‘.profile’ file, you could use the following sh command sequence:


While in a ‘.cshrc’ file, you could use the following csh command sequence:

setenv TEXINPUTS .:/home/me/mylib:

On MS-DOS/MS-Windows, you would say it like this(6):

set TEXINPUTS=.;d:/home/me/mylib;c:

It is customary for DOS/Windows users to put such commands in the ‘autoexec.bat’ file, or in the Windows registry.

These settings would cause TeX to look for ‘\input’ file first in the current directory, indicated by the ‘.’, then in a hypothetical user ‘me’’s ‘mylib’ directory, and finally in the system directories. (A leading, trailing, or doubled ‘:’ indicates searching the system directories at that point.)

Finally, you may wish to dump a ‘.fmt’ file (see Memory dumps in Web2C) so that TeX can load Texinfo faster. (The disadvantage is that then updating ‘texinfo.tex’ requires redumping.) You can do this by running this command, assuming ‘epsf.tex’ is findable by TeX:

initex texinfo @dump

(dump is a TeX primitive.) Then, move ‘texinfo.fmt’ to wherever your .fmt files are found; typically, this will be in the subdirectory ‘web2c’ of your TeX installation.

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