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5.1 'mf' invocation

Metafont (usually invoked as 'mf') reads character definitions specified
in the Metafont programming language, and outputs the corresponding
font.  This section merely describes the options available in the Web2c
implementation.  For a complete description of the Metafont language,
see 'The Metafontbook' (*note References::).

   Metafont processes its command line and determines its memory dump
(base) file in a way exactly analogous to MetaPost and TeX (*note tex
invocation::, and *note Memory dumps::).  Synopses:

     mf [OPTION]... [MFNAME[.mf]] [MF-COMMANDS]
     mf [OPTION]... \FIRST-LINE
     mf [OPTION]... &BASE ARGS

   Most commonly, a Metafont invocation looks like this:
     mf '\mode:=MODE; mag:=MAGNIFICATION; input MFNAME'
(The single quotes avoid unwanted interpretation by the shell.)

   Metafont searches the usual places for the main input file MFNAME
(*note (kpathsea)Supported file formats::), extending MFNAME with '.mf'
if necessary.  To see all the relevant paths, set the environment
variable 'KPATHSEA_DEBUG' to '-1' before running the program.  By
default, Metafont runs an external program named 'mktexmf' to create any
nonexistent Metafont source files you input.  You can disable this at
configure-time or runtime (*note (kpathsea)mktex configuration::).  This
is mostly for the sake of the EC fonts, which can be generated at any

   Metafont writes the main GF output to the file 'BASEMFNAME.NNNgf',
where NNN is the font resolution in pixels per inch, and BASEMFNAME is
the basename of MFNAME, or 'mfput' if no input file was specified.  A GF
file contains bitmaps of the actual character shapes.  Usually GF files
are converted immediately to PK files with GFtoPK (*note gftopk
invocation::), since PK files contain equivalent information, but are
more compact.  (Metafont output in GF format rather than PK for only
historical reasons.)

   Metafont also usually writes a metric file in TFM format to
'BASEMFNAME.tfm'.  A TFM file contains character dimensions, kerns, and
ligatures, and spacing parameters.  TeX reads only this .tfm file, not
the GF file.

   The MODE in the example command above is a name referring to a device
definition (*note Modes::); for example, 'localfont' or 'ljfour'.  These
device definitions must generally be precompiled into the base file.  If
you leave this out, the default is 'proof' mode, as stated in 'The
Metafontbook', in which Metafont outputs at a resolution of 2602dpi;
this is usually not what you want.  The remedy is simply to assign a
different mode--'localfont', for example.

   The MAGNIFICATION assignment in the example command above is a
magnification factor; for example, if the device is 600dpi and you
specify 'mag:=2', Metafont will produce output at 1200dpi.  Very often,
the MAGNIFICATION is an expression such as 'magstep(.5)', corresponding
to a TeX "magstep", which are factors of 1.2 * sqrt(2).

   After running Metafont, you can use the font in a TeX document as
usual.  For example:
     \font\myfont = newfont
     \myfont Now I am typesetting in my new font (minimum hamburgers).

   The program accepts the following options, as well as the standard
'-help' and '-version' (*note Common options::):
     These options are common to TeX, Metafont, and MetaPost.  *Note
     Common options::.

     Turn on or off the 'mktex' script associated with FILETYPE.  The
     only value that makes sense for FILETYPE is 'mf'.

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