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11.1 Texinfo

If the current directory contains Texinfo source, you must declare it with the TEXINFOS primary. Generally Texinfo files are converted into info, and thus the info_TEXINFOS variable is most commonly used here. Any Texinfo source file must end in the .texi, .txi, or .texinfo extension. We recommend .texi for new manuals.

Automake generates rules to build .info, .dvi, .ps, .pdf and .html files from your Texinfo sources. Following the GNU Coding Standards, only the .info files are built by ‘make all’ and installed by ‘make install’ (unless you use no-installinfo, see below). Furthermore, .info files are automatically distributed so that Texinfo is not a prerequisite for installing your package.

Other documentation formats can be built on request by ‘make dvi’, ‘make ps’, ‘make pdf’ and ‘make html’, and they can be installed with ‘make install-dvi’, ‘make install-ps’, ‘make install-pdf’ and ‘make install-html’ explicitly. ‘make uninstall’ will remove everything: the Texinfo documentation installed by default as well as all the above optional formats.

All these targets can be extended using ‘-local’ rules (see Extending Automake Rules).

If the .texi file @includes version.texi, then that file will be automatically generated. The file version.texi defines four Texinfo flag you can reference using @value{EDITION}, @value{VERSION}, @value{UPDATED}, and @value{UPDATED-MONTH}.


Both of these flags hold the version number of your program. They are kept separate for clarity.


This holds the date the primary .texi file was last modified.


This holds the name of the month in which the primary .texi file was last modified.

The version.texi support requires the mdate-sh script; this script is supplied with Automake and automatically included when automake is invoked with the --add-missing option.

If you have multiple Texinfo files, and you want to use the version.texi feature, then you have to have a separate version file for each Texinfo file. Automake will treat any include in a Texinfo file that matches vers*.texi just as an automatically generated version file.

Sometimes an info file actually depends on more than one .texi file. For instance, in GNU Hello, hello.texi includes the file gpl.texi. You can tell Automake about these dependencies using the texi_TEXINFOS variable. Here is how GNU Hello does it:

info_TEXINFOS = hello.texi
hello_TEXINFOS = gpl.texi

By default, Automake requires the file texinfo.tex to appear in the same directory as the file that lists the .texi files. If you used AC_CONFIG_AUX_DIR in (see Finding ‘configure’ Input in The Autoconf Manual), then texinfo.tex is looked for there. In both cases, automake then supplies texinfo.tex if --add-missing is given, and takes care of its distribution. However, if you set the TEXINFO_TEX variable (see below), it overrides the location of the file and turns off its installation into the source as well as its distribution.

The option no-texinfo.tex can be used to eliminate the requirement for the file texinfo.tex. Use of the variable TEXINFO_TEX is preferable, however, because that allows the dvi, ps, and pdf targets to still work.

Automake generates an install-info rule; some people apparently use this. By default, info pages are installed by ‘make install’, so running make install-info is pointless. This can be prevented via the no-installinfo option. In this case, .info files are not installed by default, and user must request this explicitly using ‘make install-info’.

The following variables are used by the Texinfo build rules.


The name of the program invoked to build .info files. This variable is defined by Automake. If the makeinfo program is found on the system then it will be used by default; otherwise missing will be used instead.


The command invoked to build .html files. Automake defines this to ‘$(MAKEINFO) --html’.


User flags passed to each invocation of ‘$(MAKEINFO)’ and ‘$(MAKEINFOHTML)’. This user variable (see Variables reserved for the user) is not expected to be defined in any Makefile; it can be used by users to pass extra flags to suit their needs.


Maintainer flags passed to each makeinfo invocation. Unlike MAKEINFOFLAGS, these variables are meant to be defined by maintainers in ‘$(AM_MAKEINFOFLAGS)’ is passed to makeinfo when building .info files; and ‘$(AM_MAKEINFOHTMLFLAGS)’ is used when building .html files.

For instance, the following setting can be used to obtain one single .html file per manual, without node separators.

AM_MAKEINFOHTMLFLAGS = --no-headers --no-split

AM_MAKEINFOHTMLFLAGS defaults to ‘$(AM_MAKEINFOFLAGS)’. This means that defining AM_MAKEINFOFLAGS without defining AM_MAKEINFOHTMLFLAGS will impact builds of both .info and .html files.


The name of the command that converts a .texi file into a .dvi file. This defaults to ‘texi2dvi’, a script that ships with the Texinfo package.


The name of the command that translates a .texi file into a .pdf file. This defaults to ‘$(TEXI2DVI) --pdf --batch’.


The name of the command that builds a .ps file out of a .dvi file. This defaults to ‘dvips’.


If your package has Texinfo files in many directories, you can use the variable TEXINFO_TEX to tell Automake where to find the canonical texinfo.tex for your package. The value of this variable should be the relative path from the current to texinfo.tex:

TEXINFO_TEX = ../doc/texinfo.tex

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