Making PDF documents from (La)TeX
There are three general routes to PDF output: Adobe's original “distillation” route (via PostScript output), direct conversion of a DVI file, and the use of a direct TeX-like PDF generator such as pdfTeX.
For simple documents (with no hyper-references), you can either
- process the document in the normal way, produce PostScript
output and distill it;
- (on a Windows or Macintosh machine with appropriate
tools installed) pass the output through a PDFwriter in place of a printer driver. This route is only appropriate for simple documents: PDF writers cannot create hyperlinks;
- process the document with “vanilla” LaTeX and generate PDF
direct from the DVI using ''dvipdfm''/''dvipdfmx''; or
- process the document direct to PDF with pdfTeX,
[[FAQ-luatex|LuaTeX]], or [[FAQ-xetex|XeTeX]].
To translate all the LaTeX cross-referencing into Acrobat
links, you need a LaTeX package to redefine
the internal commands. There are two of these for LaTeX, both
capable of conforming to the
Heiko Oberdiek's hyperref, and Michael Mehlich's
hyper. (In practice, almost everyone uses
hyperref; hyper hasn't been updated since 2000.)
Hyperref can often determine how it should generate
hypertext from its environment, but there is a wide set of
configuration options you can give via
\usepackage. The package
can operate using pdfTeX primitives, the hyperTeX
\specials, or DVI driver-specific
dvips and Y&Y's
translate the DVI with these
\special commands into
PostScript acceptable to Distiller, and
\special commands of
If you use Plain TeX, the Eplain macros can
help you create PDF documents with hyper-references.
It can operate using pdfTeX primitives, or
dvipdfmx DVI drivers.
While there is no free implementation of all of
functionality, any but the implausibly old versions of
provide pretty reliable distillation (but beware of the problems with
''dvips'' output for distillation).
For viewing (and printing) the resulting files, Adobe's
Acrobat Reader is available for a fair range of
platforms; for those for which Adobe's reader is unavailable, remotely
current versions of ''ghostscript''
''gsview'' can display and
print PDF files, as can
In some circumstances, a
application is actually preferable to Acrobat Reader. For example, on
Windows Acrobat Reader locks the