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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 released for general use is available from the usual GNU servers and mirrors:

The latest development version is available from the Texinfo source repository:

texinfo.tex is essentially a standalone file, and compatibility is of utmost concern; so, if you need or want to try a newer version than came with your system, it nearly always suffices to download it and put it anywhere that TeX will find it (first). You can replace any existing texinfo.tex with a newer version (of course saving the original in case of disaster).

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 Images).

To use quotation marks other than those used in English, you’ll need to have the European Computer Modern fonts (e.g., ecrm1000) and (for PDF output) CM-Super fonts (see Inserting Quotation Marks).

To use the @euro command, you’ll need the ‘feym*’ fonts (e.g., feymr10). See @euro.

All of the above files (and a whole lot more) should be installed by default in a reasonable TeX installation.

Optionally, you may create a file texinfo.cnf for site configuration. This file is read by TeX when the @setfilename command is executed (see @setfilename). 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 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, 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’d do this (note the use of the ‘;’ character as directory separator, instead of ‘:’):

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.)

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