mktextfm - Man Page

create a TFM file for a font


mktextfm [options] font


mktextfm is used to generate a tfm file from the Metafont source files for font, or hbf2gf(1), if possible.  If destdir is given, the generated file will be installed there, otherwise a (rather complicated) heuristic is used.  If the tfm file already exists in the destination location, this is reported and nothing is done.

If a GF (Generic Font) bitmap file is also generated, as is typical with ΜF, it is converted to PK (Packed Font) and installed similarly.

The full pathname of the generated file is printed on standard output.

If available, the mf-nowin(1) variant of Metafont is used to generate fonts to avoid the possibility of online display.

mktextfm is typically called by other programs, via Kpathsea, rather than from the command line.


mktextfm accepts the following options:

--destdir dir

A directory name. If the directory is absolute, it is used as-is. Otherwise, it is appended to the root destination directory set in the script.


Print help message and exit successfully.


Print version information and exit successfully.


One environment variable is specific to mktextfm: MF_MODE_EXTRA_INFO. If this is set to a non-empty value, a Metafont macro mode_include_extra_info will be invoked when the font is made.  The standard file defines this, as of version 4.0, released in 2020. This causes the so-called Xerox-world information, notably including the CODINGSCHEME for the font, to be included in the tfm file. (This is not done by default since it is too intrusive to redefine the necessary primitives, per Don Knuth.) The mftrace(1) program, for example, can use this to get a clue about the font encoding, although the information is not always perfectly definitive or unambiguous.

For more about the encodings of Metafont fonts, see the section “Bitmap font encodings” in the Dvips manual (e.g.,

The many other environment variables and various configuration files that control a TeX system also affect the behavior of mktextfm, as usual.

See Also

mf(1), mktexmf(1), mktexpk(1).

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs to: (
TeX Live home page:

Referenced By

kpsewhich(1), mkofm(1), mktexmf(1), mktexpk(1).

30 January 2020 TeX Live