[pdftex] Generating Pdftex.fmt

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Sat Sep 29 21:42:28 CEST 2007

On Friday 28 September 2007 06:07:52 pm Ryan F. Shelley wrote:
> I'm new to pdftex, to say the least.  I have a process that was handed down
> to me with nearly zero documentation.  Part of the process is taking a tex
> file and converting it to pdf.  The documentation says to use "pdflatex",
> however, it seems that the actual program is "pdftex".  I'm not given any
> instructions on whether I should be running pdftex with any command-line
> options.  When I run pdftex and supply the path to the .tex file I have, I
> get the following message:
> kpathsea: Running mktexfmt pdftex.fmt
> mktexfmt: No such file or directory
> I can't find the format file `pdftex.fmt'!
> I looked around for "mktexfmt" and I can't find it.  Any suggestions?
> I also don't know what version I should be using, since this process is
> several years old.  Hopefully things are backward compatible :\
> Thanks!
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TeX is designed to allow  multiple versions.  There must be a dozen or more 
versions out there but there are two you need be concerned with right now. 

Tex has two major pdf versions, pdftex and pdflatex. You use the name for the 
one you want.  Version pdftex has its ancestry in the original (plain) tex 
version as created by Donald Knuth. Version pdflatex has its ancestry in the 
latex version created by Leslie Lamport.

A LaTeX file won't compile under tex or pdftex. A tex or pdftex file won't 
compile under latex or pdflatex.  They use different notations.  If your 
notes say "pdflatex" then that is what you should use. 

You get all these versions, plus more with any standard TeX distribution. The 
system you inherited may be a bit messed up. I suggest you download and 
install a current TeX distribution. The texlive distro will install on most 
hardware and OS.  You download the cdr or dvd image, burn onto media, mount 
the disk, go to it and start the install script for your system.  The dvd 
version can also run TeX off the disk without installation. 
John Culleton

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