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1.2 Output Formats

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


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


(Generated via makeinfo --html.) HTML, standing for Hyper Text Markup Language, has become the most commonly used language for writing documents on the World Wide Web. Web browsers, such as Mozilla, Lynx, and Emacs-W3, can render this language online. There are many versions of HTML, both different standards and browser-specific variations. makeinfo tries to use 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. For details of the HTML language and much related information, see See Generating HTML.


(Generated via texi2dvi.) The DeVIce Independent binary format is output by the TeX typesetting program ( 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 ( See Hardcopy. (Be aware that the Texinfo language is very different from and much stricter than 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. 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; and have some background. By default, Texinfo uses the pdftex program, an extension of TeX, to output PDF; see See PDF Output.


(Generated via makeinfo --docbook.) This is an XML-based format developed some years ago, primarily for technical documentation. It therefore bears some resemblance, in broad outline, to Texinfo. See Various converters from Docbook to Texinfo have also been developed; see the Texinfo web pages.


(Generated via makeinfo --xml.) XML is a generic syntax specification usable for any sort of content (a reference is at The makeinfo XML output, unlike all the other output formats, is a transliteration of the Texinfo source rather than processed output. That is, it translates the Texinfo markup commands into XML syntax, for further processing by XML tools. The XML contains enough information to recreate the original content, except for syntactic constructs such as Texinfo macros and conditionals. The Texinfo source distribution includes a utility script txixml2texi to do that backward transformation.

The details of the output syntax are defined in an XML DTD as usual, which is contained in a file texinfo.dtd included in the Texinfo source distribution and available via the Texinfo web pages. Texinfo XML files, and XML files in general, cannot be viewed in typical web browsers; they won’t follow the DTD reference and as a result will simply report a (misleading) syntax error.

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