1.2 Output Formats

Here is an overview of the output formats currently supported by Texinfo.


(Generated via texi2any.) Info format is mostly a plain text transliteration of the Texinfo source. It adds a few control characters to provide navigational information for cross-references, indices, and so on. The Emacs Info subsystem (see Info), and the standalone info program (see GNU Info), among others, can read these files. See Info Files, and Creating and Installing Info Files.

Plain text

(Generated via texi2any --plaintext.) This is almost the same as Info output with the navigational control characters are omitted.


(Generated via texi2any --html.) HTML, standing for Hyper Text Markup Language, is the language for writing documents on the World Wide Web. Web browsers can render this language online. There are many versions of HTML, both different standards and browser-specific variations. texi2any uses a subset of the language that can be interpreted by any common browser, intentionally not using many newer or less widely-supported tags. Although the native output is thus rather plain, it can be customized at various levels, if desired. See Generating HTML.


(Generated via texi2any --epub3.) EPUB is a format designed for reading electronic books on portable devices. It is a derivative of HTML. The format was developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), which is now part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The latest major revision, EPUB 3, dates from 2011.


(Generated via texi2dvi.) The DeVIce Independent binary format is output by the TeX typesetting program (http://tug.org). This is then read by a DVI ‘driver’, which knows the actual device-specific commands that can be viewed or printed, notably Dvips for translation to PostScript (see Dvips) and Xdvi for viewing on an X display (http://sourceforge.net/projects/xdvi/). See Formatting and Printing with TeX. (Be aware that the Texinfo language is very different from TeX’s usual languages: plain TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, etc.)


(Generated via texi2dvi --ps.) PostScript is a page description language that became widely used around 1985 and is still used today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PostScript gives a basic description and more preferences. By default, Texinfo uses the dvips program to convert TeX’s DVI output to PostScript. See Dvips.


(Generated via texi2dvi --pdf or texi2pdf.) This format was developed by Adobe Systems for portable document interchange, based on their previous PostScript language. It can represent the exact appearance of a document, including fonts and graphics, and supporting arbitrary scaling. It is intended to be platform-independent and easily viewable, among other design goals; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format and http://tug.org/TUGboat/tb22-3/tb72beebe-pdf.pdf have some background. By default, Texinfo uses the pdftex program, an extension of TeX, to output PDF; see http://tug.org/applications/pdftex. See PDF Output.


(Generated via texi2any --latex.) This is a typesetting system built on top of TeX. It was originally released by Leslie Lamport in 1984. LaTeX adds more definitions to those of TeX and has a wide range of packages built on it. LaTeX is ubiquitous in academic literature. The current version of LaTeX is under active development; more information is available online at https://www.latex-project.org/.

The LaTeX output can be further processed into DVI, PostScript, or PDF. In theory, the LaTeX output should allow for much more customizability of the output than would be possible with the plain TeX implementation of Texinfo.


(Generated via texi2any --docbook.) This is an XML-based format, primarily for technical documentation. It therefore bears some resemblance, in broad outline, to Texinfo. See http://www.docbook.org. Various converters from DocBook to Texinfo have also been developed; see the Texinfo web pages.


(Generated via texi2any --xml.) The texi2any XML output, unlike all the other output formats, is a transliteration of the Texinfo source, rather than finished output. Texinfo XML files cannot be viewed in web browsers or other programs.

XML is a generic syntax specification usable for any sort of content. (A reference is at http://www.w3.org/XML.) The purpose of the Texinfo XML output is to allow further processing by XML tools. The output syntax is defined in an XML DTD, which is contained in a file texinfo.dtd included in the Texinfo source distribution.

The Texinfo source distribution includes a utility script txixml2texi to do a backward transformation to recreate the original Texinfo content (except for Texinfo macros and conditionals).