Chapter 14. Commercial Environments

$Revision: 1.1 $

$Date: 2002/08/23 14:31:13 $

There are several commercial versions of TeX on the market. The advantage of commercial programs over free ones is that they provide an automated installation procedure and some level of technical support. There's no reason to believe that a commercial implementation of TeX is necessarily better than a free one (or vice versa, for that matter) because the source code for TeX is in the public domain.

The following sections highlight several commercial implementations of TeX.

ÁTeX by ArborText

ArborText sells ÁTeX for MS-DOS systems as well as an implementation of TeX for unix workstations. The ArborText previewer and DVI driver software are also available for both unix and MS-DOS systems. The following discussion is based on experiences with ÁTeX version 3.14B, the MS-DOS implementation of ArborText's TeX package.

The ÁTeX package is a complete TeX implementation for MS-DOS. The additional utilities, PLtoTF, TFtoPL, and BibTeX, are also included. Neither MetaFont nor MakeIndex is provided.

The default installation of ÁTeX creates format files for Plain TeX and LaTeX. To be as fast as possible, ÁTeX creates executable versions of TeX for each of these formats; these versions have the appropriate macro packages preloaded into the executable. You can use the standard notation to load alternate macro packages if you wish to save disk space.

ArborText includes a lot of support for using TeX for non-English documents. Several files of international hyphenation patterns (English, French, German, Dutch, and Portuguese) are provided, as well as reprints of the TUGboat articles describing new features of TeX version 3.0 and virtual fonts.

Designed for an MS-DOS environment having only limited memory, ÁTeX uses a swap file (potentially located in EMS or XMS memory) to process large files. Several environment variables can be used to alter the size of internal TeX data structures when a new format is being produced. In terms of big and small versions, ÁTeX can be configured either way. These choices are made when you create the format file however, so you will need to use iniTeX (included with ÁTeX) to make a “bigger” TeX.

One of the most interesting features of ÁTeX is a quick-and-dirty preview mode provided by the TeX executable. After at least one page of your document has been processed, you can switch to a preview mode and see what the page looks like while TeX continues processing your document. This previewer is not particularly attractive, but it's quick and easy to use. No other previewer is provided. ArborText sells a fully functional previewer as a separate package.

To print your documents, you must purchase or obtain a DVI driver separately. ArborText sells two drivers, one for HP LaserJet printers and another for PostScript printers. The ÁTeX distribution includes a complete set of TFM files, but it does not include any PK files.

The ArborText previewer is summarized in the section called “the section called “TeX Preview”” in Chapter Chapter 9, Chapter 9. The ArborText printer drivers, DVILASER/HP and DVILASER/PS, are described in Chapter Chapter 8, Chapter 8.


\yyTeX is an MS-DOS implementation of TeX by Y&Y Inc. (a 386 or higher processor is required). \yyTeX is sold as a bundled package with DVIWindo, dvipsone,[126] and a set of PostScript fonts (either the Computer Modern fonts, the Lucida Bright and Lucida New Math fonts, or the MathTime fonts). The installation provides format files for Plain TeX and LaTeX.

\yyTeX stands out among TeX systems because of its memory management. Unlike other TeX systems, which exist in big and small versions, all of \yyTeX's memory management is dynamic. All of the buffers that TeX uses (main memory, font memory, string memory, etc.) will expand to meet the needs of the most complex documents you create. The memory required for hyphenation patterns is dynamically allocated as well, which means that you can construct multilingual formats with as many sets of hyphenation patterns as you need (multilingual formats are discussed in more detail in Chapter Chapter 7, Chapter 7). The advantage of dynamic memory management over a fast and big TeX is that \yyTeX starts out small (big TeXs reserve a large fixed amount of memory even when processing simple jobs that don't require very much). In a multitasking environment where several programs are competing for memory, one large program can slow the progress of the entire system. \yyTeX's memory manager supports XMS, VCPI, and DPMI. This means that it can run under MS-DOS with any of the common memory managers and under Windows, Windows NT, and DOS sessions in OS/2.

\yyTeX has a couple of additional strengths for multilingual use: it supports customizable input character translation and more than 255 internal font numbers. Most versions of TeX only support a maximum of 255 fonts in any single document.


Textures is a commercial implementation of TeX for the Macintosh distributed by Blue Sky Research. It is described fully in Chapter Chapter 15, Chapter 15.


TurboTeX is a complete TeX system for MS-DOS with full support for Microsoft Windows. It is distributed by the Kinch Computer Company. The programs included in TurboTeX version 3.0 are shown in Table Table 14.1. The dvideo and wdviwin previewers are described in Chapter Chapter 9.

Table 14.1. TurboTeX Programs

Program Description
dvialw[a] A PostScript DVI driver
dvideo An EGA (non-Windows) previewer
wdviwin A Windows previewer
dvielq[a] An Epson LQ driver
dvieps[a] An Epson/IBM graphics printer driver
dvijep[a] An HP LaserJet PLus/Series II driver
dvijet[a] An HP LaserJet/DeskJet driver
dvilj4[a] An HP LaserJet 4 driver
initex[a] iniTeX for building new format files
latex[a] TeX with the LaTeX format preloaded
tex[a] TeX with the Plain format preloaded
texidx The GNU TeX indexing program
tif2hp Converts TIFF bitmapped graphics to HP LaserJet bitmaps
virtex[a] TeX with no format preloaded

[a] Windows version included.

The Microsoft Windows version of TurboTeX is a superset of the DOS version (you must install both, but you can delete the non-Windows executable programs that have Windows versions, if you wish).

TurboTeX includes a complete MetaFont distribution. In addition to the programs shown in Table  Table 14.2, the complete sources for the Computer Modern, LaTeX, and \AmS-fonts are also provided.

Table 14.2. Turbo\protect\TeX \protect\MF Programs

\bf Program \bf Description
\it gftodvi\x Creates proof sheets of MetaFont characters
\it inimf MetaFont with no base file preloaded
\it mfscript A script generator (for building multiple fonts)
\it mfcga MetaFont for CGA displays
\it mfhga MetaFont for Hercules displays
\it gftopk\x Converts GF files to PK files

At the time of this writing, a new version of TurboTeX is actively being developed. Unfortunately, it was not available for review in time for this edition of Making TeX Work. The Kinch Computer Company claims that the next release will include a big TeX running under Windows 3.1/Win32s and Windows NT as a native, protected-mode 32-bit application. A new Windows previewer will also be available, and it takes advantage of Windows “multiple document interface” to preview multiple documents in the same session. Kinch will also provide a set of the standard Computer Modern Fonts in TrueType and Type 1 formats.


PCTeX is a complete TeX system for MS-DOS distributed by Personal TeX, Inc. It is one of two offerings from PTI. The version for Windows is described later in this chapter.

PCTeX is sold in two configurations. The PCTeX Starter System includes the latest releases of PCTeX and PCTeX/386, PTI View (for previewing), one printer driver with the appropriate Computer Modern fonts in PK format, LaTeX For Everyone [jh:latexforeveryone], and the sources for Plain TeX, LaTeX, and AMSTeX. The PCTeX Laser System includes Big PCTeX/386, LaserJet, LaserJet 4, PostScript and DeskJet printer drivers (along with a complete set of Computer Modern fonts in PK format at 300dpi and 600dpi), and the PC TeX Manual, in addition to everything contained in the Starter System.

The discussion that follows is based on experiences with the PCTeX Starter System with PCTeX version 3.14 and the PTI Laser/HP DVI driver.

In addition to the TeX executables and macro packages mentioned above, PCTeX includes these standard TeX utilities: BibTeX, PLtoTF, TFtoPL, PXtoPK, and PKtoPX. It does not include any of the other standard utilities or the MakeIndex processor. MetaFont is available as a separate package (although it is being discontinued, so it may not be available for long).

Several additional features make PCTeX an attractive commercial alternative:

  • It uses a text-based “menu system” for processing documents. This program makes the edit/format/preview cycle a simple matter of selecting the appropriate menu item. Figure Figure 14.1 shows this system in use.

    Figure 14.1. The PCTeX menu system

  • Support is provided for Bitstream fonts. Bitstream is a vendor of high-quality scalable typefaces. The utilities included with PCTeX allow you to create TFM and PK files from Bitstream compressed outline fonts.

  • If you prepare multilingual documents, you'll appreciate the attention they receive in the PCTeX documentation. Although the ability to compose multilingual documents is really a feature of TeX version 3, not PCTeX in particular, PTI provides step-by-step instructions for building a multilingual format file. Support files for English, French, and Spanish are included.

PTI's previewer, PTI View, is described in Chapter Chapter 9, Chapter 9. The PTI Laser/HP and PTI Laser/PS printer drivers are discussed in Chapter Chapter 8, Chapter 8. Drivers for DeskJet and Epson printers are also available.

PCTeX For Windows

PCTeX For Windows is a new offering from Personal TeX, Inc. PCTeX For Windows is a superset of Personal TeX's MS-DOS version of PCTeX.

This version of PCTeX is an integrated system with a built-in editor (with complete on-line help), previewer, and push-button access to PCTeX for composing your documents. Figure  Figure 14.2 shows PCTeX For Windows in action.

Figure 14.2. PCTeX For Windows editing and previewing a LaTeX document


PCTeX For Windows includes a complete set of Computer Modern and \AmS fonts in scalable TrueType format. This allows PCTeX to print directly to any printer (or other device) supported by Microsoft Windows. To provide better access to other TrueType fonts that you may have installed, PCTeX includes a TFM generator for TrueType fonts. This generator is shown in Figure  Figure 14.3.

Figure 14.3. PCTeX For Windows TrueType font metric builder


Except for the PXtoPK and PKtoPX utilities, PCTeX For Windows has all of the features of the MS-DOS version of PCTeX.

Scientific Word

Scientific Word, a commercial package from TCI Software Research, bridges the gap between TeX and word processing by providing a more or less WYSIWYG interface on top of TeX. Scientific Word requires Microsoft Windows. Figure  Figure 14.4 shows a sample document being edited by Scientific Word.

Figure 14.4. Editing a document with Scientific Word


Scientific Word is a powerful program that might prove to be invaluable in some circumstances. An ideal candidate for Scientific Word is someone with little or no desire to learn TeX, but who wants professional quality output for documents containing a lot of mathematics. Scientific Word is not simply a fast, interactive previewer; it really is a visual editor that produces TeX code behind the scenes. You enter document elements (even complex elements like mathematics) in an interactive push-button fashion, and Scientific Word translates it into the appropriate LaTeX input. This is very different from Blue Sky Research's Textures where the user types in TeX but has nearly instantaneous feedback.

Unfortunately, the complexity of TeX vastly exceeds Scientific Word's ability to act as a visual editor, and this leads to a number of potentially confusing discrepancies. For example, in a TeX document, the \parindent and \parskip control sequences control the indentation of the first line of a paragraph and the distance between paragraphs. In Scientific Word, the on-screen appearance of the document is controlled separately. This difference is apparent in Figure  Figure 14.4, where the paragraphs appear to be indented with no additional space between them, and Figure  Figure 14.5 (the same document shown in the previewer) where the paragraphs are not indented but have additional space between them.

These discrepancies arise because Scientific Word was designed with the same philosophy as LaTeX: separation of content and form. The purpose of the Scientific Word editor is to allow you to organize your thoughts and perfect the content of your document. It is the job of LaTeX, in conjunction with the document style options that you select, to perfect the appearance of your document. The display shown in Figure  Figure 14.4 is not incorrect in any way, it just isn't WYSIWYG. TCI Research claims that “by going beyond WYSIWYG, Scientific Word allows you to focus on the creative process $…$ and not the layout commands necessary to typeset [your document].”

Figure 14.5. Preview of the Scientific Word document shown in Figure Figure 14.4


When Scientific Word encounters TeX code that it does not understand, it leaves a labelled grey box in the display (you can see two such boxes above the chapter title “Unsolved Problems” in Figure  Figure 14.4).[127] This means that you can edit all of the TeX code in your document from within Scientific Word, and small amounts of customization do not require abandoning the program. The Scientific Word technical reference, included online with the program, describes how you can tailor Scientific Word to recognize many of your customizations.

Behind the scenes, Scientific Word documents are processed by a full-fledged TeX processor (TurboTeX by the Kinch Computer Company). This includes integrated document formatting and previewing under Windows. Starting with version 1.1 of Scientific Word, instructions are included to switch to a different version of TeX, or different previewers and DVI drivers, if you prefer.

[126] {DVIWindo is described in Chapter Chapter 9, and dvipsone is described in Chapter Chapter 8.}

[127] {I forced the issue of unrecognized control sequences by inserting \parskip and \parindent control sequences into the body of the document. They really belong in a document style option.}