[XeTeX] Difference between XeLaTeX and LaTeX

Suresh Avvarulakshmi, Integra-PDY, IN suresh.avvarulakshmi at integra.co.in
Fri Sep 23 07:19:22 CEST 2011

Thank you for valuable suggestions. 

-----Original Message-----
From: xetex-bounces at tug.org [mailto:xetex-bounces at tug.org] On Behalf Of Zdenek Wagner
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 3:24 PM
To: Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] Difference between XeLaTeX and LaTeX

2011/9/21 Suresh Avvarulakshmi, Integra-PDY, IN
<suresh.avvarulakshmi at integra.co.in>:
> Hi All,
> Are they any comparisons documents, which shows the difference between
> XeLaTeX and LaTeX typesettings?
I do not know but it can be said quite simply. In any case, it is
Lamport's LaTeX with extensions. The macrolanguage is the same. The
differences stem from the differences in extensions:

1. Output driver, XeLaTeX cannot create dvi, thus dvips and similar
programs cannot be used. It is important to know when including

2. XeLaTeX cannot use microtypographical extensions but it may change
in the future. Currently pdflatex or lualatex is needed.

3. Classical LaTeX cannot work in UTF-8, only 8bit encodings are
supported. Although the inputenc package offers input in Unicode by
means of active characters, the character is composed from a series of
bytes during macro expansion. This may break certain macros. XeLaTeX
work in UTF-8 where a character is a character.

4. Classical LaTeX has no direct support for non-latin scripts.
Preprocessors are usually needed. I am aware of a preprocessor for
Velthuis encoding for Davanagari, Gurmukhi and Bengali. I am not aware
of any support for Dravidian scripts. On the contrary, XeLaTeX works
with these scripts directly.

5. Classical LaTeX can only work with TeX fonts. If you buy a font,
you have to create TFM and FD, you have to select an encoding known by
LateX. If it is an OpenType font, you have to convert it to (possibly
a searies of) type1 fonts, OpenType features will be unavailable. With
XeLaTeX or lualatex you just install the font in your OS and it can be
used as such, Opentype features can be utiized.

6. Since non-TeX fonts can be used and vendors do not care on
portability, it no longer holds that the same source document will be
typeset exactly the same way anywhere in the world or at any time. It
can be a problem if you have to share and store documents (unless you
are sure that exactly the same version of fonts is used) but you need
not care if you just want to produce PDF once and it will never change
in the future. (This is the philosophy of the Prague Bulletin of
Mathematical Linguistics, per definition the right PDF is that typeset
by the editors, they after reviews and proofs create a PDF, have it
printed, put it to the web and this is the final version that will
never change).

Most packages deal with macros, not with the particular engine/output
driver. You can use them no matter whether you use pdflatex, lualatex,
classical LaTeX with dvips or XeLaTeX. Other packages are able to
detect the engine/driver and adapt itself. Thus the only difference
from the user's point of view is the font/script issue.

Hope this helps.
> Thanks,
> Suresh
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Zdeněk Wagner

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