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Generate PDF-Latex Add On

This add-on generates a latex file for a specified topic, and/or the PDF output of pdflatex processing this latex file. The goal is to provide PDF versions of TWiki topics with nicely rendered mathematics, using a latex document preparation environment installed on the TWiki server.

The package is tightly integrated with the TWiki:Plugins.LatexModePlugin, which is a required prerequisite.

The goal of this package development is to provide a mechanism for groups to edit and produce latex documents suitable for publication submission. The use of this package on a TWiki installation provides the following advantages:

  • there is no need for each user to install a latex environment themselves,
  • one can leverage the revision control (and diff rendering) provided by TWiki,
  • document templates, in the form of latex style files, required by publishers or conference organizers can be easily employed.


  • This package provides a new cgi script genpdflatex.
    • The first call to this script produces a form through which latex/pdflatex file generation options can be set, (e.g. single or dual columns, draft settings, latex document style, etc.)
    • subsequent calls to the cgi script from this form will produce either a raw latex file or the associated PDF file.

Startup Form

This add on uses an intermediate form to declare the latex/pdflatex rendering options, including documentclass to be used, single or double column, etc... A default form is provided with the script. A custom form can be used by declaring GENPDFLATEX_OPTIONSPAGE somewhere within the twiki or web preferences (or in the GenPDFLatexPlugin topic). If the following strings appear in the form, $web, $topic, $style, and $packages, these strings will be respectively replaced by %WEB%, %TOPIC%, and the option arguments described below.

Topic Syntax

The following TWiki topic syntax commands are provided through the included GenPDFLatexPlugin:

The tag %PDFLATEXLINK{options}% will render as a link to the genpdflatex script. The available options are

option function default
text text for hyperlink "Create PDF/Latex Version"
packages pass a list of latex packages to the form (empty)
style declare a default style in the form (empty)

Inclusion or exclusion of topic content from either the HTML or Latex renderings-up, is provided through the following conditional commands:


In each case, content in the [tex] region will only appear in the PDF/Latex rendered file, and content in the [html] region will only appear in HTML renderings (i.e. a standard TWiki view).

Most notably, this is useful for declaring the titlepage in the latex rendering. This conditional allows one to use, for example, a professional name in the latex file and a TWiki username in the HTML topic rendering.

genpdflatex script parameters

The following html2latex parameters are available for passing latex options to genpdflatex:

option description
class the LaTeX2e document class (article,IEEEtran,letter,etc.)
font_size font size (9,10,11,12)
imgscale scale factor for the HTML images
packages to supply a list of Latex2e packages (graphicx,doublespace,etc)

These parameters can be set in the setup form, or declared in the %PDFLATEXLINK{}% call. The default settings for the parameters are initialized in the html2latex configuration (i.e. LatexLMP.pm).

Add-On Installation Instructions

Note: You do not need to install anything on the browser to use this add-on. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the add-on on the server where TWiki is running.

  • Install the html2latexLMP package, and prerequisites
    • Download the html2latexLMP tar.gz file from the Add-On Home (see below)
    • untar the tarball, (tar zxvf html2latexLMP...)
    • chdir to the HTML subdirectory (cd html2latexLMP.../HTML)
    • perform the standard perl module install steps. (perl Makefile.PL; make test; make install;) See the INSTALL file for a complete description.
  • Setup the Latex rendering software
    • Ensure that a latex document preparation system is available to the user name (uid) running the twiki web server.
    • Install any custom latex style files needed. The best suggestion is to create a local texmf tree accessible by the server. For example, for an apache server running as 'nobody' on a linux system:
      • create the directory /home/nobody/texmf/tex/latex, with reasonable permissions.
      • Place the custom .cls and .sty latex files in this directory
      • as user root or nobody, run texhash /home/nobody/texmf to create the ls-R latex database file for the /home/nobody/texmf/ tree.
  • Setup the add on
    • Download the ZIP file from the Add-on Home (see below)
      Warning, important Note: versions 2.0 and above are compatible only with TWiki 4.x.x. If you are running an earlier version of TWiki, (i.e. Cairo) download v1.4 instead. Warning, important
    • Unzip GenPDFLatexAddOn.zip in your twiki installation directory. Content:
      File: Description:
      data/TWiki/GenPDFLatexAddOn.txt Add-on topic
      data/TWiki/GenPDFLatexPlugin.txt The Plugin topic
      data/Main/GenPDFLatexForm.txt form listing file generation options
      bin/genpdflatex Add-on script
      lib/TWiki/Contrib/GenPDFLatex.pm the perl code package module
      lib/TWiki/Plugins/GenPDFLatexPlugin.pm code for conditional content rendering
    • if using server authentication, add the genpdflatex file to the .htaccess permission list in the twiki/bin directory
    • in GenPDFLatex.pm, declare the pdflatex executable path and the $ENV{'HOME'} variables, if needed.
    • Set up the pdflatex generation form. Note, this form topic is optional. If no form is declared, the cgi script will use a default form which can be modified by the administrator instead.
      • Modify the file generation form, GenPDFLatexForm, to reflect your own needs.
      • declare which topic to use as the form in a Preferences topic
        (e.g. declare
        * Set GENPDFLATEX_OPTIONSPAGE = Main.GenPDFLatexForm
        in the TWikiPreferences topic)
    • Test if the installation was successful:
      • point your browser to a TWiki topic that contains TWiki:Plugins.LatexModePlugin markup.
      • replace view with genpdflatex in the url, and reload the page.
        (At this point, you should see the GenPDFLatex form)
      • select file generation options
      • press the 'Produce PDF/Latex' button and view the returned .tex/.pdf file.

Package particulars

To convert the topic HTML code generated by twiki into a latex source file, this add-on uses a modified version of HTML::Latex from CPAN, renamed HTML::LatexLMP and included with the html2latexLMP package attached to this topic. The modifications are minor, providing two new HTML tag handlers (for 'font' and 'a') and changes to the default HTML tag to Latex mark-up mapping configuration.

Image sizing

The relative size and placeement of images in HTML doesn't not generally translate well to latex documents. Thus, with rev 1.4 of html2latexLMP, a few hooks were added to allow greater control of the image rendering in the latex document. Standard html2latex provides an image scale parameter. The LMP version allows two new attributes, texwidth and texheight, to be declared in the html img tag. For example, a standard HTML tag for the attached screen shot image would read:

   <img src="screenshot.png" alt="screen shot example" width="800" height="600">

To render this same image in the pdf/latex document to cover almost the whole width of the page, one could declare:

   <img src="screenshot.png" alt="screen shot example" width="800" height="600" texwidth="0.95\linewidth">
The html2latex processing will convert this tag to
and proceed happily along.

The latex preamble

The latex preamble generated by the LatexModePlugin during HTML rendering is included in the latex/pdf file generated by this add-on.

Color in the latex/pdf output is possible, with a few caveats. First, the rendered color is currently drawn from HTML <font> tags, not the LatexModePlugin option or cascading style sheets. This may seem counterintuitive, but bear with us. wink The LatexModePlugin color option was introduced to enable rendered mathematics images with font-color consistent with normal font color declarations. It is assumed that any color option specified in a %BEGINLATEXMODE{}% TWiki tag is embedded in a font-color block. Second, the \usepackage{color} call needs to be in the latex preamble. This will happen automatically if using colors defined by the LatexModePlugin.

This code is still very much under development. All syntax calls, e.g. equations, figures, and tables, in the LatexModePlugin are supported. The TWiki:Plugins.BibtexPlugin can be used for bibliography support.

Add-On Info

  • Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Generate PDF files of TWiki topics with nicely rendered mathematics

Add-on Author: TWiki:Main/ScottHoge
Add-on Version: 31 Jan 2008 (v2.2, SVN:16334)
Change History:  
31 Jan 2008 (v2.2): updated for TWiki 4.2
15 Nov 2007 (v2.1): improved reporting of errors, now includes bibtex support
30 Sep 2006 (v2.01): minor change, for compatibility with TWiki:Plugins.LatexModePlugin v3.0
1 Feb 2006 (v1.4): fixed bug in stripping of <p> tags within latex environments
6 Dec 2005 (v1.3): modified for Dakar compatibility
11 Nov 2005 (v1.2): Added PDFLATEXLINK tag, tweaked image handling
15 Oct 2005 (v1.1): Initial version
TWiki Dependencies: TWiki:Plugins.LatexModePlugin v2.0 or greater
CPAN Dependencies: File::Basename, File::Temp, HTML::TreeBuilder, XML::Simple
Other Dependencies: HTML::LatexLMP v1.4 or greater (included in the html2latexLMP package attached below), a working latex installation
Perl Version: 5.005
License: GPL
Add-on Home: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/GenPDFLatexAddOn
Feedback: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/GenPDFLatexAddOnDev
Appraisal: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/GenPDFLatexAddOnAppraisal

Related Topic: TWiki:Plugins.LatexModePlugin, TWiki:Plugins,GenPDFAddOn

-- TWiki:Main/ScottHoge - 10 Oct 2005

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Unknown file formatmd5 GenPDFLatexAddOn.md5 r3 r2 r1 manage 0.2 K 2008-01-31 - 18:39 ScottHoge md5 checksums
Compressed Zip archivetgz GenPDFLatexAddOn.tgz r3 r2 r1 manage 20.0 K 2008-01-31 - 18:39 ScottHoge Untar and run the installer script, if there is one
Compressed Zip archivezip GenPDFLatexAddOn.zip r7 r6 r5 r4 r3 manage 23.9 K 2008-01-31 - 18:39 ScottHoge unzip, correct the permissions, and run the installer script, if there is one
Unknown file formatgz html2latexLMP-1.4.tar.gz r1 manage 43.8 K 2005-11-11 - 05:05 ScottHoge TWiki compatible version of HTML::Latex
PNGpng screenshot.png r1 manage 117.0 K 2005-10-15 - 02:48 ScottHoge Screenshot of the addon in action
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Topic revision: r13 - 2009-04-10 - PeterThoeny
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