This is MDVI, a free DVI previewer.
MDVI is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. See
the file `COPYING' for details.
MDVI is currently is in its early stages of development, and needs much more
work before being considered ready for general use. Although it is quite
usable, it lacks key features that any self-respecting DVI previewer must
include. See the file `TODO' for details.
- An ANSI C compiler (tested with gcc and Sun's cc).
- X11 (no toolkits, just Xlib).
- kpathsea. Any version should do, but I use 3.3.3. If you want to use
TrueType fonts, you need at least version 3.2.
- GNU Make, any version (ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/make)
- To use Type 1 fonts, you also need the T1lib library. Get it from
- To use TrueType fonts, you need the FreeType library. MDVI currently
supports only versions 1.x (tested with 1.3) of FreeType. A port to
FreeType 2.x should be completed soon. Get 1.x from
You can get all the necessary libraries from MDVI's anonymous FTP site, at
ftp://mdvi.sourceforge.net/pub/mdvi. The files you'll find there are:
A stripped down version of the web2c-7.3.3 package that contains
the kpathsea library only. Use this if your TeX distribution does
not use kpathsea to locate files.
The T1lib library, required to support Type1 PostScript fonts.
The FreeType library.
TrueType fonts for use with TeX. These fonts are free, originally
obtained from ftp://ftp.tug.org.
Why use MDVI?
Although MDVI is far from complete, it already has some unique features.
- A clean, minimal, but efficient interface. No buttons, no distractions.
- Rendering of pages in 8 different orientations.
- Independent horizontal and vertical scaling factors and resolutions
implemented for all font formats. MDVI can closely match the final
printed output as produced by dvips or other printer drivers.
- Ability to partially read a DVI file, including a powerful mechanism to
select the pages that are actually processed, based on either DVI page
numbers, TeX \counters, or both.
- Several ways of sorting pages, which is nice when viewing LaTeX
documents that have a table of contents. Sorting pages up by TeX number,
the table of contents comes up as the first page.
- Modular design, with a clear division between device-independent code to
process DVI files and the actual rendering of glyphs. Adding support for
a new font format is a trivial task.
- Ability to change all rendering parameters on the fly (including
- Can process DVI files in `batch mode' without a user interface. Useful
for detecting font-related problems (and to generate all the fonts
needed by a DVI file without actually displaying it).
- Fully customizable via environment variables and `texmf.cnf' - no need
for yet another configuration file to maintain.
- Support for fonts in PK, GF, VF and OVF formats.
- Support for Type1 PostScript fonts, metric files, fontmaps and
encodings. MDVI can use the same configuration files and fonts used by
- Experimental support for TrueType fonts via FreeType 1.x, using
PostScript fontmaps and encoding files.
- Builtin support for font metrics in TFM, AFM, OFM0 and OFM1 formats. If
a font is missing but a metrics file can be found, MDVI can display a
box with the right dimensions in its place, or simply ignore the
characters from that font.
- Extensible: Support for new fonts and \specials can be added at run-time
through an extremely simple API.
- Font support completely configurable at run-time, via environment
variables and/or command line options.
The most important omissions in MDVI:
- Support for X resource files.
- Rendering of PostScript specials (but EPS bounding boxes are displayed
correctly, unless they are rotated).
- Transparent glyphs. Currently MDVI uses a cheap trick to simulate
transparent glyphs, which consists in drawing with a GXand function.
This will NOT work in many common X visuals, and even when it does it
still does not yield correct results when the background color is not
- Zooming. This effect can still be achieved by changing the resolution or
the shrinking factor inside the viewer. See the description of keyboard
commands at the end.
- It's slower than it could be.
These will be improved in the future, but for now the priority is robustness
First make sure you have all the required tools and libraries, described
above, and that they are properly installed.
If you plan to use Type1 and/or TrueType fonts, you also need to have the
configuration files used by dvips or pdftex installed in kpathsea's texmf
tree. More precisely, you need the PostScript font maps and encoding vector
If your TeX distribution does not use kpathsea, you'll have to install that
library independently. It's not hard at all, and it's worth the effort.
If the kpathsea library is in a standard place, you can just type
$ make install
If the `configure' script fails, or if you want to enable additional
features of MDVI, you can use the following options:
Use these to tell the configure script where to look for kpathsea
The option --with-type1-fonts enables support for Type1 fonts. Notice
that support for these fonts is not enabled by default. The other two
options tell `configure' where to find t1lib's headers and the
The option --with-freetype enables support for TrueType fonts. Notice
that support for these fonts is not enabled by default. The other two
options tell `configure' where to find FreeType's headers and the
If you don't want MDVI to support languages other than english.
Note: I have had problems during the final link against the kpathsea
library on Solaris if the library was compiled with gcc, and MDVI is
compiled with Sun's cc. To solve the problem, just use the commands
$ ar x `gcc --print-libgcc-file-name` _eprintf.o
and add `_eprintf.o' to KPSE_LIBS in the Makefile. Then the link should be
successful. It shouldn't be hard to make `configure' detect this, but I
don't think it's worth it. If you do, let me know.
To use Type1/TrueType fonts, MDVI needs PostScript fontmaps. These are
usually distributed with dvips and pdftex, but you can get them separately
from MDVI's ftp site (see above). Please notice that you need to have a
correct fontmap entry for *each* font you want to use, or the output will be
MDVI's UI is a bit primitive by today's standards, but it is easy to learn
and powerful. It is driven exclusively with the keyboard, although some
functionality is bound to the mouse. All the parameters that affect the
reading and rendering of DVI files can be specified in the command line, and
also via environment variables. To see a list of these variables, run mdvi
with the `--info' option.
Although some of this commands may be considered rather exotic, to say the
least, they exist mostly to test the basic DVI interpreter and the rendering
Keyboard commands without arguments:
PageUp/PageDown go to previous/next page
Control+PageUp go to the first page
Control+PageDown go to the last page
Up/Down/Left/Right scroll the window in the given direction
(the movement rate can be reduced by holding
the Shift key while pressing the direction
key, and further reduced by holding the
Control+Fn save the displayed page number
Fn restore a saved page number
q quits MDVI
b switches between human and TeX's eyes
a toggles glyph antialiasing
l redraws the page
L reloads the DVI file from disk
R rotates the page clockwise by 90 degrees
r rotates the page counter-clockwise
F flips the page vertically
f flips the page horizontally
? displays a summary of keyboard commands on
standard output (sorry, but this is all the
online help available at this point).
Keyboard commands that accept a numeric argument:
The argument is typed before pressing the specified key. You will not see
it, but it'll be there. Some commands accept negative or even
floating point numbers.
Command Description Neg Pos Floats
p go to current page + ARG yes yes truncated
j jump to page number ARG (last+ARG if negative) yes yes truncated
t jump to TeX's page number ARG yes yes truncated
d change resolution no yes truncated
m change magnification no yes yes
x change horizontal shrinking ratio no yes truncated
y change vertical shrinking ratio no yes truncated
n change pixel density (for bitmap shrinking) no yes truncated
g change gamma correction (for antialiased glyphs) no yes yes
where `truncated' means that all the decimal digits are dropped. Be advised
that changing the resolution or the magnification may take some time,
because fonts may need to be recreated by kpathsea. Also, not all fonts
support arbitrary resolutions (Type1 and TrueType fonts do, as far as I
know), and kpathsea may fail with a message saying that it is not able to
guess the MF mode from the specified resolution. Using the --mfmode option
Button 1 displays a ruler that can be moved around the page
Button 1 + Shift displays a horizontal ruler only
Button 1 + Control displays a vertical ruler only
Download the contents of this package in one zip archive
mdvi – A DVI previewer
MDVI is a previewer for DVI files on Unix-like systems. It supports a rich
variety of font formats (PK, GF, VF/OVF, Type1 and
TrueType), uses kpathsea to locate files and is able to
use the same font map files used by dvips, pdftex and
ghostcript, making its integration with an existing
TeX/Ghostscript installation painless.
The present version is said to be incomplete, but should be