Frequently Asked Question List for TeX
LaTeX documents are tricky beasts for building using
make on: the need to
instruct LaTeX to run several times for essentially different
reasons (for example, “get the table of contents stable”, “get the
labels stable”, “add the bibliography”, “add the index”) is
actually rather difficult to express in the “ordinary” sort of
dependency graph that one constructs for
latex-make package offers help with this task (far more
sophisticated techniques than in the script that builds these FAQs); it
looks good, but reports of its use (other than by its author) are scarce.
For a long time, the only
make-like package on CTAN
latexmk, which is a
script that analyses your LaTeX source for its dependencies, runs
makeindex as and when it notices that those
programs’ input (parts of the
aux file, or the
idx file, respectively) has changed, and so on.
Latexmk is a fine
solution (and was used in generating printable versions of these
FAQs for some time); it has recently been upgraded and has
many bells and whistles that allow it to operate as if it were a poor
man’s WYSIWYG system.
A recent strong contender is
arara, written in
Java. It is (the documentation says) based on “rules”
and “directives”; its aim is to determine what to do from explicit
instructions in the document’s source code, rather than secondary
sources such as log file analysis.
Arara is relatively new
on CTAN, and comes with recommendations from many of the great and
good of the LaTeX world.
Newer still is the Python script
try, which has a similar
arara — it, too, reads instructions in the
Apparently along the same lines, is AutoLaTeX. The
of the distribution is actual a Unix-type man-page output, and shows
great attention to the details of the document production process.
The (Ruby) script
mk (also, apparently, known as
latex_maker) works well with another of the author’s
scripts script called
vpp (View and Print
Windows users of the MiKTeX system may use that system’s
Texify deals with basic
LaTeX features, including generating a bibliography and an index;
it makes no claim to deal with other things (such as multiple
bibliographies or indexes, or lists of terminology, etc.), which
AutoLaTeX can be configured to process.
texinfo system comes with a similar
texi2dvi, which is capable of “converting”
either LaTeX or
texinfo files into DVI (or into
PDF, using pdfTeX).
A later contribution is the bundle
offers a set of
make rules that invoke
The curious may examine the rules employed to run the present FAQ through LaTeX: we don’t present them as a complete solution, but some of the tricks employed are surely re-usable.
FAQ ID: Q-make