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A Beginner's Guide to METAPOST for Creating High-Quality Graphics

Troy Henderson


Individuals that use TeX (or any of its derivatives) to typeset their documents generally take extra measures to ensure paramount visual quality. Such documents often contain mathematical expressions and graphics to accompany the text. Since TeX was designed ``for the creation of beautiful books -- and especially for books that contain a lot of mathematics'' (Knuth, The TeXbook}, it is clear that it is sufficient (and in fact exceptional) at dealing with mathematics and text. TeX was not designed for creating graphics; however, certain add-on packages can be used to create modest figures. TeX, however, is capable of including graphics created with other utilities in a variety of formats. Because of their scalability, Encapsulated PS (EPS) graphics are the most common types used. This paper introduces MetaPost and demonstrates the fundamentals needed to generate high-quality EPS graphics for inclusion into TeX-based documents.

Troy Henderson began using LaTeX as an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering approximately 10 years ago. He has used MetaPost for about 2 years now, and he is currently running a workshop in his department in order to introduce fellow faculty members to both LaTeX and MetaPost. He has developed several tools for MetaPost not the least of which is his MetaPost Previewer located at Troy can be reached at mailto

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