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1.7 Printed Books

A Texinfo file can be formatted and typeset as a printed book or manual. To do this, you need TeX, a sophisticated typesetting program written by Donald Knuth of Stanford University.

A Texinfo-based book is similar to any other typeset, printed work: it can have a title page, copyright page, table of contents, and preface, as well as chapters, numbered or unnumbered sections and subsections, page headers, cross references, footnotes, and indices.

TeX is a general purpose typesetting program. Texinfo provides a file ‘texinfo.tex’ that contains information (definitions or macros) that TeX uses when it typesets a Texinfo file. (‘texinfo.tex’ tells TeX how to convert the Texinfo @-commands to TeX commands, which TeX can then process to create the typeset document.) ‘texinfo.tex’ contains the specifications for printing a document. You can get the latest version of ‘texinfo.tex’ from the Texinfo home page,

In the United States, documents are most often printed on 8.5 inch by 11 inch pages (216mm by 280mm); this is the default size. But you can also print for 7 inch by 9.25 inch pages (178mm by 235mm, the @smallbook size; or on A4 or A5 size paper (@afourpaper, @afivepaper). See section @smallbook: Printing “Small” Books, and Printing on A4 Paper.

TeX is freely distributable. It is written in a superset of Pascal for literate programming called WEB and can be compiled either in Pascal or (by using a conversion program that comes with the TeX distribution) in C.

TeX is very powerful and has a great many features. Because a Texinfo file must be able to present information both on a character-only terminal in Info form and in a typeset book, the formatting commands that Texinfo supports are necessarily limited.

See section Obtaining TeX, for information on acquiring TeX. It is not part of the Texinfo distribution.

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