TEXFOT(1) Karl Berry TEXFOT(1)
texfot - run TeX, filtering online transcript for interesting messages
texfot [option]... texcmd [texarg...]
"texfot" invokes texcmd with the given texarg arguments, filtering the
online output for ``interesting'' messages. Its exit value is that of
# Sample basic invocation:
texfot pdflatex file.tex
# Ordinarily all output is copied to /tmp/fot before filtering;
# that can be omitted:
texfot pdflatex --tee=/dev/null file.tex
# Example of more complex engine invocation:
texfot lualatex --recorder '\nonstopmode\input file'
Aside from its own options, described below, "texfot" just runs the
given command with the given arguments (same approach to command line
syntax as "env", "nice", "time", "timeout", etc.). Thus, "texfot"
works with any engine and any command line options.
"texfot" does not look at the log file or any other possible output
file(s); it only looks at the standard output and standard error from
the command. stdout is processed first, then stderr. Lines from
stderr have an identifying prefix. "texfot" writes all accepted lines
to its stdout.
The messages shown are intended to be those which likely need action by
the author: error messages, overfull and underfull boxes, undefined
citations, missing characters from fonts, etc.
FLOW OF OPERATION
Here is the order in which lines of output are checked:
1. If the ``next line'' needs to be printed (see below), print it.
2. Otherwise, if the line matches the built-in list of regexps to
ignore, or any user-supplied list of regexps to ignore (given with
"--ignore", see below), in that order, ignore it.
3. Otherwise, if the line matches the list of regexps for which the
next line (two lines in all) should be shown, show this line and
set the ``next line'' flag for the next time around the loop.
Examples are the common "!" and "filename:lineno:" error messages,
which are generally followed by a line with specific detail about
4. Otherwise, if the line matches the list of regexps to show, show
5. Otherwise, the default: if the line came from stdout, ignore it; if
the line came from stderr, print it (to stdout). (This distinction
is made because TeX engines write relatively few messages to
stderr, and it's not unlikely that any such should be considered.
It would be easy to add more options to allow for user additions to
the various regex lists, if that ever seems useful. Or email me
Once a particular check matches, the program moves on to process the
Don't hesitate to peruse the source to the script, which is essentially
a straightforward loop matching against the different lists as above.
You can see the exact regexps being matched in the different categories
in the source.
Incidentally, although nothing in this basic operation is specific to
TeX engines, all the regular expressions included in the program are
specific to TeX. So in practice the program isn't useful except with
TeX engines, although it would be easy enough to adapt it (if there was
anything else as verbose as TeX to make that useful).
The following are the options to "texfot" itself (not the TeX engine
being invoked; consult the TeX documentation or the engine's "--help"
output for that).
The first non-option terminates "texfot"'s option parsing, and the
remainder of the command line is invoked as the TeX command, without
further parsing. For example, "texfot --debug tex --debug" will output
debugging information from both "texfot" and "tex".
Options may start with either - or --, and may be unambiguously
abbreviated. It is best to use the full option name in scripts,
though, to avoid possible collisions with new options in the future.
Output (or not) what is being done on standard error. Off by
Ignore lines in the TeX output matching (Perl) regexp. Can be
repeated. Adds to the default set of ignore regexps rather than
replacing. These regexps are not automatically anchored (or
otherwise altered), simply used as-is.
By default, standard input to the TeX process is closed so that
TeX's interactive mode (waiting for input upon error, the "*"
prompt, etc.) is never entered. Giving "--interactive" allows
interaction to happen.
By default, the TeX command being invoked is reported on standard
output. "--quiet" omits that reporting.
The default is for "texfot" to report everything written to stderr
by the TeX command (on stdout). "--no-stderr" omits that
reporting. (Some programs, "dvisvgm" is one, can be rather verbose
By default, the output being filtered is "tee"-ed, before
filtering, to "$TMPDIR/fot" ("/tmp/fot" if "TMPDIR" is not set), to
make it easy to check the full output when the filtering seems
suspect. This option allows specifying a different file. Use
"--tee /dev/null" if you don't want the original output at all.
Output version information and exit successfully.
Display this help and exit successfully.
I wrote this because, in my work as a TUGboat editor
(<http://tug.org/TUGboat>, journal submissions always welcome!), I end
up running and rerunning many papers, many times each. It was too easy
to lose warnings I needed to see in the mass of unvarying and
uninteresting output from TeX, such as style files being read and fonts
being used. I wanted to see all and only those messages which needed
some action by me.
I found some other programs of a similar nature, the LaTeX package
"silence", and plenty of other (La)TeX wrappers, but it seemed none of
them did what I wanted. Either they read the log file (I wanted the
online output only), or they output more or less than I wanted, or they
required invoking TeX differently (I wanted to keep my build process
exactly the same, most critically the TeX invocation, which can get
complicated). Hence I wrote this.
Here are some keywords if you want to explore other options:
texloganalyser, pydflatex, logfilter, latexmk, rubber, arara, and
searching for "log" at <http://ctan.org/search>.
"texfot" is written in Perl, and runs on Unix, and does not work on
Windows. (If by some chance anyone wants to use this program on
Windows, please make your own fork; I'm not interested in supporting
The name comes from the "trip.fot" and "trap.fot" files that are part
of Knuth's trip and trap torture tests, which record the online output
from the programs. I am not sure what "fot" stands for in trip and
trap, but I can pretend that it stands for "filter online transcript"
in the present case :).
AUTHORS AND COPYRIGHT
This script and its documentation were written by Karl Berry and both
are released to the public domain. Email "email@example.com" with
bug reports. It has no home page beyond the package on CTAN:
texfot 2017-07-25 TEXFOT(1)
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