[XeTeX] How does xetex handle non-native image files such as eps?

Ulrike Fischer news2 at nililand.de
Wed Oct 22 09:56:12 CEST 2008

Am Wed, 22 Oct 2008 00:41:50 +0000 (UTC) schrieb Yuan Qi:

> Does it extract the boundingbox info from the file first and
> finish the layout before calling the external program to 
> convert the image to PDF or does it convert the file to PDF 
> first before starting any layout work? 

xetex first makes a xdv (and extended dvi). For this it needs the
bounding box of the eps. Then it calls xdvipdfmx which makes from the
xdv a pdf and in this process calls ghostscript to convert the eps in a

You can call this steps separately by using xetex --no-pdf file and
xdvipdfmx file. 

> Also, xetex does not appear to accept any non-native image files
> besides eps files. What other settings needs to be modified besides
> dvipdfmx.cfg in order to get it to accept other non-native image
> files?

For the first step xetex needs the bounding box. So you must tell xetex
(by setting a correct graphics rule and perhaps by making a bb or
xbb-file) how to get it.

But don't forget: every non-native image file has to be converted by
xdvipdmx during every compilation. This slows down compilation. So at my
opinion it is better to convert the images before compilation in a
native format.

Ulrike Fischer 

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