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23.2.4 Installing Info Directory Files

When you install an Info file onto your system, you can use the program install-info to update the Info directory file ‘dir’. Normally the makefile for the package runs install-info, just after copying the Info file into its proper installed location.

In order for the Info file to work with install-info, you include the commands @dircategory and @direntry@end direntry in the Texinfo source file. Use @direntry to specify the menu entries to add to the Info directory file, and use @dircategory to specify which part of the Info directory to put it in. Here is how these commands are used in this manual:

@dircategory Texinfo documentation system
* Texinfo: (texinfo).           The GNU documentation format.
* install-info: (texinfo)Invoking install-info. …
@end direntry

Here’s what this produces in the Info file:

INFO-DIR-SECTION Texinfo documentation system
* Texinfo: (texinfo).           The GNU documentation format.
* install-info: (texinfo)Invoking install-info. …

The install-info program sees these lines in the Info file, and that is how it knows what to do.

Always use the @direntry and @dircategory commands near the beginning of the Texinfo input, before the first @node command. If you use them later on in the input, install-info will not notice them.

install-info will automatically reformat the description of the menu entries it is adding. As a matter of convention, the description of the main entry (above, ‘The GNU documentation format’) should start at column 32, starting at zero (as in what-cursor-position in Emacs). This will make it align with most others. Description for individual utilities best start in column 48, where possible. For more information about formatting see the ‘--calign’, ‘--align’, and ‘--max-width’ options in Invoking install-info.

If you use @dircategory more than once in the Texinfo source, each usage specifies the ‘current’ category; any subsequent @direntry commands will add to that category.

When choosing a category name for the @dircategory command, we recommend consulting the Free Software Directory. If your program is not listed there, or listed incorrectly or incompletely, please report the situation to the directory maintainers ( so that the category names can be kept in sync.

Here are a few examples (see the ‘util/dir-example’ file in the Texinfo distribution for large sample dir file):

Software development
Software libraries
Text creation and manipulation

Each ‘Invoking’ node for every program installed should have a corresponding @direntry. This lets users easily find the documentation for the different programs they can run, as with the traditional man system.

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