[OS X TeX] Emulating LaTeXit with regular latex

Alan Munn amunn at gmx.com
Sun Aug 29 10:28:08 EDT 2010

On Aug 29, 2010, at 2:05 AM, Ross Moore wrote:

> On 29/08/2010, at 12:53 PM, Alan Munn <amunn at gmx.com> wrote:
>> Hi everyone,
>> LaTeXit does a wonderful job of creating small images that are  
>> exactly the size of the typeset text, no more, no less.  How does  
>> it do it?  Is there a way to do what LaTeXit does just using  
>> regular TeX tools? (I don't care if it's more complicated.)
> You can do this with pdflatex, xetex, whatever.

> TeXshop's \ship out primitive can ship out any \box, containing  
> whatever you want.
> You have to be careful about margins and offsets, but these can be  
> set to zero locally as you ship out a page that is exactly the size  
> that you want.
> Presumably this is what LaTeXit does. Certainly it is what  
> LaTeX2HTML does, when it makes images for use with web pages. There  
> may be some more graphics manipulations to get the size and  
> resolution correct. This is all pretty standard technology, for say  
> 20 years or more now.

Hi Ross, it may be standard technology, but not for (mere) LaTeX users  
like me, I think, since \shipout is a command that although I'm aware  
of its existence, I've certainly had no occasion to use.  (Especially  
since any discussion of TeX's output routine (which is where \shipout  
is most often used?) usually comes along with dire warnings about how  
tricky it can be :-).

I guess I'll read up a bit on output routines although a simple  
example that would get me started would probably help too.


Alan Munn
amunn at gmx.com

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