Frequently Asked Question List for TeX
Unfortunately, no “general”, simple, automatic process is likely to succeed at this task. See “How does LaTeX relate to Plain TeX” for further details.
Obviously, trivial documents will translate in a trivial way. Documents that use even relatively simple things, such as labels and references, are likely to cause trouble (Plain TeX doesn’t support labels).
Translating a document designed to work with LaTeX into one that will work with Plain TeX is likely to amount to carefully including (or otherwise re-implementing) all those parts of LaTeX, beyond the provisions of Plain TeX, which the document uses.
Some of this work has (in a sense) been done, in the port of the
LaTeX graphics package to Plain TeX. However, while
graphics is available, other complicated packages (notably
hyperref) are not. The aspiring translator may find the
Eplain system a useful source of code. (In fact,
a light-weight system such as Eplain might reasonably be adopted as
an alternative target of translation, though it undoubtedly gives the
user more than the “bare minimum” that Plain TeX is designed to
FAQ ID: Q-LaTeXtoPlain