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dvisvgm - converts DVI and EPS files to the XML-based SVG format


dvisvgm [ options ] file [.dvi]

dvisvgm -E [ options ] file [.eps]


The command-line utility dvisvgm converts DVI files, as generated by TeX/LaTeX, to the
XML-based scalable vector graphics format SVG. It supports the classic DVI format 2 as
well as format 3 (created by pTeX in vertical mode), and format 5 which is also known as
XDV (created by XeTeX). Besides the basic DVI commands, dvisvgm also evaluates many
so-called specials which heavily extend the capabilities of the DVI format. For a more
detailed overview, see section Supported Specials below.

Since the current SVG standard 1.1 doesn’t specify multi-page graphics, dvisvgm creates
separate SVG files for each DVI page. Because of compatibility reasons, only the first
page is converted by default. In order to select a different page or arbitrary page
sequences, use option -p which is described below.

SVG is a vector-based graphics format and therefore dvisvgm tries to convert the glyph
outlines of all used fonts to scalable path descriptions. The fastest way to do that is to
extract the path information from font files in PFB, TTF, or OTF format. If dvisvgm is
able to find such a file, it extracts all necessary outline information about the glyphs
from it.

However, TeX’s main source for font descriptions is Metafont, which produces bitmap output
(GF files). That’s why not all obtainable TeX fonts are available in a scalable format. In
these cases, dvisvgm tries to vectorize Metafont’s output by tracing the glyph bitmaps.
The results are not as perfect as most (manually optimized) PFB or OTF counterparts, but
are nonetheless really nice in most cases.

When running dvisvgm without option --no-fonts, font elements (<font>...</font>) are used
to embed the font data into the SVG files. Unfortunately, only few SVG renderes support
these elements yet. Most web browsers and vector graphics applications don’t evaluate them
properly so that the text components of the resulting graphics might look strange. In
order to create more compatible SVG files, command-line option --no-fonts can be given to
replace the font elements by plain graphics paths.


-a, --trace-all=[retrace]
This option forces dvisvgm to trace not only the actually needed glyphs but all glyphs
of all bitmap fonts used in the DVI file. Since the tracing results are stored in the
font cache, all following DVI conversions (without option --trace-all) where these
fonts are involved, will be much faster. By default, dvisvgm traces only the actually
needed glyphs, and adds them to the cache. The boolean option retrace determines how
to handle glyphs already stored in the cache. By default, these glyphs are skipped.
Setting argument retrace to yes or true forces dvisvgm to trace the corresponding
bitmaps again.

This option only takes effect if font caching is active. Therefore, --trace-all
cannot be combined with option --cache=none.

-b, --bbox=fmt
Sets the bounding box of the generated graphic to the specified format. The parameter
fmt takes either one of the format specifiers listed below, or a sequence of four
comma- or whitespace-separated length values x1, y1, x2 and y2. The latter define two
diagonal corners of the bounding box. Each length value consists of a floating point
number and an optional length unit (pt, bp, cm, mm, in, or pc). If the unit is
omitted, TeX points (pt) are assumed.

It’s also possible to give only one length value l. In this case, the minimal bounding
box is computed and enlarged by adding (-l,-l) to the upper left and (l,l) to the
lower right corner.

Alternatively, the following format specifiers are supported:

International DIN/ISO paper sizes
An, Bn, Cn, Dn, where n is a non-negative integer, e.g. A4 or a4 for DIN/ISO A4
format (210mm × 297mm).

North American paper sizes
invoice, executive, legal, letter, ledger

Special bounding box sizes

dvi page size stored in the DVI file
min computes the minimal/tightest
bounding box
none no bounding box is assigned

Page orientation
The default page orientation for DIN/ISO and American paper sizes is portrait,
i.e. width < height. Appending -landscape or simply -l to the format string
switches to landscape mode (width > height). For symmetry reasons you can also
explicitly add -portrait or -p to indicate the default portrait format. Note that
these suffixes are part of the size string and not separate options. Thus, they
must directly follow the size specifier without additional blanks. Furthermore,
the orientation suffixes can’t be used with dvi, min, and none.

Option -b, --bbox only affects the bounding box and does not transform the
page content. Hence, if you choose a landscape format, the page won’t be

-C, --cache[=dir]
To speed up the conversion process of bitmap fonts, dvisvgm saves intermediate
conversion information in cache files. By default, these files are stored in
$HOME/.dvisvgm/cache. If you prefer a different location, use option --cache to
overwrite the default. Furthermore, it is also possible to disable the font caching
mechanism completely with option --cache=none. If argument dir is omitted, dvisvgm
prints the path of the default cache directory together with further information about
the stored fonts. Additionally, outdated and corrupted cache files are removed.

-j, --clipjoin
This option tells dvisvgm to compute the intersection of clipping paths itself if
necessary, and not to delegate this task to the SVG renderer. The resulting SVG files
are more portable because some SVG renderers don’t support intersections of clipping
paths which are defined by clipPath elements that contain a clip-path attribute.

Enables colorization of messages printed during the conversion process. The colors can
be customized via the environment variable DVISVGM_COLORS. See the ENVIRONMENT section
below for further information.

-E, --eps
If this option is given, dvisvgm does not expect a DVI but an EPS input file, and
tries to convert it to SVG. In order to do so, a single psfile special command is
created and forwarded to the PostScript special handler. This option is only available
if dvisvgm was built with PostScript support enabled, and requires Ghostscript to be
available. See option --libgs for further information.

-e, --exact
If this option is given, dvisvgm computes the precise bounding box of each character.
By default, the values stored in a font’s TFM file are used to determine a glyph’s
extent. As these values are intended to implement optimal character placements and are
not designed to represent the exact dimensions, they don’t necessarily correspond with
the bounds of the visual glyphs. Thus, width and/or height of some glyphs may be
larger (or smaller) than the respective TFM values. As a result, this can lead to
clipped characters at the bounds of the SVG graphics. With option --exact given,
dvisvgm analyzes the actual shape of each character and derives a usually tight
bounding box.

-m, --fontmap=filenames
Loads and evaluates a single or multiple font map files. These files are required to
resolve font file names and encodings. dvisvgm does not provide its own map files but
tries to read available ones coming with dvips or dvipdfm. If option --fontmap is
omitted, dvisvgm looks for the default map files ps2pk.map, dvipdfm.map, and
psfonts.map (in this order). Otherwise, the listed files are used. Multiple filenames
must be separated by commas without leading and/or trailing whitespace. The map files
are evaluated in the given order. By default, redefined mappings do not replace
previous ones. However, each filename can be preceded by an optional mode specifier
(+, -, or =) to change this behavior:

Only those entries in the given map file that don’t redefine a font mapping are
applied. That’s also the default mode if no mode specifier is given.

Ensures that none of the font mappings defined in the given map file are used,
i.e. previously defined mappings for the specified fonts are removed.

All mappings defined in the map file are applied. Previously defined settings for
the same font are replaced.

If the first filename in the filename sequence is preceded by a mode specifier,
dvisvgm loads the default font map (see above) and applies the other map files
afterwards. Otherwise, none of default map files will be loaded automatically.

Examples: --fontmap=myfile1.map,+myfile2.map loads myfile1.map followed by
myfile2.map where all redefinitions of myfile2.map are ignored.
--fontmap==myfile1.map,-myfile2.map loads the default map file followed by
myfile1.map and myfile2.map where all redefinitions of myfile1.map replace
previous entries. Afterwards, all definitions for the fonts given in myfile2.map
are removed from the font map tree.

For further information about the map file formats and the mode specifiers, see
the manuals of dvips and dvipdfm.

Tells dvisvgm to create overlapping grid segments when approximating color gradient
fills (also see option --grad-segments below). By default, adjacent segments don’t
overlap but only touch each other like separate tiles. Unfortunately, this alignment
can lead to visible gaps between the segments because the background influences the
color at the boundary of the segments if the SVG renderer uses anti-aliasing to create
smooth contours. One way to avoid this and to create seamlessly touching color regions
is to enlarge the segments so that they extent into the area of their right and bottom
neighbors. Since the latter are drawn on top of the overlapping parts, the visible
size of all segments keeps unchanged. Just the former gaps disappear as the background
is now completely covered by the correct colors. Currently, dvisvgm computes the
overlapping segments separately for each patch of the mesh (a patch mesh may consist
of multiple patches of the same type). Therefore, there still might be visible gaps at
the seam of two adjacent patches.

Determines the maximal number of segments per column and row used to approximate
gradient color fills. Since SVG 1.1 only supports a small subset of the shading
algorithms available in PostScript, dvisvgm approximates some of them by subdividing
the area to be filled into smaller, monochromatic segments. Each of these segments
gets the average color of the region it covers. Thus, increasing the number of
segments leads to smaller monochromatic areas and therefore results in a better
approximation of the actual color gradient. As a drawback, more segments imply bigger
SVG files because every segment is represented by a separate path element.

Currently, dvisvgm supports free- and lattice-form triangular patch meshes as well as
Coons and tensor-product patch meshes. They are approximated by subdividing the area
of each patch into a n×n grid of smaller segments. The maximal number of segments per
column and row can be changed with option --grad-segments.

If the size of the segments created to approximate gradient color fills falls below
the given delta value, dvisvgm reduces their level of detail. For example, Bézier
curves are replaced by straight lines, and triangular segments are combined to
tetragons. For a small delta these simplifications are usually not noticeable but
reduce the size of the generated SVG files.

-h, --help[=mode]
Prints a short summary of all available command-line options. The optional mode
parameter is an integer value between 0 and 2. It selects the display variant of the
help text. Mode 0 lists all options divided into categories with section headers. This
is also the default if dvisvgm is called without parameters. Mode 1 lists all options
ordered by the short option names, while mode 2 sorts the lines by the long option

Disables the removal of temporary files as created by Metafont (usually .gf, .tfm, and
.log files).

This option is only available if the Ghostscript library is not directly linked to
dvisvgm and if PostScript support was not completely disabled during compilation. In
this case, dvisvgm tries to load the shared GS library dynamically during runtime. By
default, it expects the library’s name to be libgs.so.X (on Unix-like systems, where X
is the ABI version of the library) or gsdll32.dll/gsdll64.dll (Windows). Option
--libgs can be used to give a different name. Alternatively, it’s also possible to set
the GS library name by the environment variable LIBGS. The latter has less precedence
than the command-line option, i.e. dvisvgm ignores variable LIBGS if --libgs is given.

-L, --linkmark=style
Selects the method how to mark hyperlinked areas. The style argument can take one of
the values none, box, and line, where box is the default, i.e. a rectangle is drawn
around the linked region if option --linkmark is omitted. Style argument line just
draws the lower edge of the bounding rectangle, and none tells dvisvgm not to add any
visible objects to hyperlinks. The lines and boxes get the current text color
selected. In order to apply a different, constant color, a colon followed by a color
specifier can be appended to the style string. A color specifier is either a
hexadecimal RGB value of the form #RRGGBB, or a dvips color name

Moreover, argument style can take a single color specifier to highlight the linked
region by a frameless box filled with that color. An optional second color specifier
separated by colon selects the frame color.

Examples: box:red or box:#ff0000 draws red boxes around the linked areas. yellow:blue
creates yellow filled rectangles with blue frames.

-l, --list-specials
Prints a list of registered special handlers and exits. Each handler processes a set
of special statements belonging to the same category. In most cases, the categories
are identified by the prefix of the special statements. It’s usually a leading word
separated from the rest of the statement by a colon or a blank, e.g. color or ps.

-M, --mag=factor
Sets the magnification factor applied in conjunction with Metafont calls prior tracing
the glyphs. The larger this value, the better the tracing results. Nevertheless, large
magnification values can cause Metafont arithmetic errors due to number overflows. So,
use this option with care. The default setting usually produces nice results.

Puts every single character in a separate text element with corresponding x and y
attributes. By default, new text or tspan elements are only created if a string starts
at a location that differs from the regular position defined by the characters'
advance values.

Suppresses the generation of missing font files. If dvisvgm can’t find a font file
through the kpathsea lookup mechanism, it calls the external tools mktextfm or mktexmf
by. This option disables these calls.

-n, --no-fonts[=variant]
If this option is given, dvisvgm doesn’t create SVG font elements but uses paths
instead. The resulting SVG files tend to be larger but they are concurrently more
compatible with most applications that don’t support SVG fonts yet. The optional
argument variant selects the method how to substitute fonts by paths. Variant 0
creates path and use elements. Variant 1 creates path elements only. Option --no-fonts
implies --no-styles.

-c, --scale=sx[,sy]
Scales the page content horizontally by sx and vertically by sy. This option is
equivalent to -TSsx,sy.

-S, --no-specials[=names]
Disable processing of special commands embedded in the DVI file. If no further
parameter is given, all specials are ignored. To selectively disable sets of specials,
an optional comma-separated list of names can be appended to this option. A name is
the unique identifier referencing the intended special handler. Option --list-specials
lists all currently available handlers and their names. All unsupported special
statements are silently ignored.

By default, dvisvgm creates CSS styles and class attributes to reference fonts because
it’s more compact than repeatedly set the complete font information in each text
element. However, if you prefer direct font references, the default behavior can be
disabled with option --no-styles.

-o, --output=pattern
Sets the name pattern of the output file. Parameter pattern is a string that may
contain the variables %f, %p, and %P. %f expands to the base name of the DVI file,
i.e. the filename without suffix, %p is the current page number, and %P the total
number of pages in the DVI file. An optional number (0-9) given after the percent sign
specifies the minimal number of digits to be written. If a particular value is
shorter, the number is padded with leading zeros. Example: %3p enforces 3 digits for
the current page number (001, 002, etc.). Without an explicit width specifier, %p gets
the same number of digits as %P.

If you need more control over the numbering, you can use arithmetic expressions as
part of a pattern. The syntax is %(expr) where expr may contain additions,
subtractions, multiplications, and integer divisions with common precedence. The
variables p and P contain the current page number and the total number of pages,
respectively. For example, --output="%f-%(p-1)" creates filenames where the numbering
starts with 0 rather than 1.

The default pattern is %f-%p.svg if the DVI file consists of more than one page, and
%f.svg otherwise. That means, a DVI file foo.dvi is converted to foo.svg if foo.dvi is
a single-page document. Otherwise, multiple SVG files foo-01.svg, foo-02.svg, etc. are
produced. In Windows environments, the percent sign indicates dereferenced environment
variables, and must therefore be protected by a second percent sign, e.g.

-p, --page=ranges
This option sets the pages to be processed. Parameter ranges consists of a
comma-separated list of single page numbers and/or page ranges. A page range is a pair
of numbers separated by a hyphen, e.g. 5-12. Thus, a page sequence might look like
this: 2-4,6,9-12,15. It doesn’t matter if a page is given more than once or if page
ranges overlap. dvisvgm always extracts the page numbers in ascending order and
converts them only once. In order to stay compatible with previous versions, the
default page sequence is 1. dvisvgm therefore converts only the first page and not the
whole document in case option --page is omitted. Usually, page ranges consist of two
numbers denoting the first and last page to be converted. If the conversion is to be
started at page 1, or if it should continue up to the last DVI page, the first or
second range number can be omitted, respectively. Example: --page=-10 converts all
pages up to page 10, --page=10- converts all pages starting with page 10. Please
consider that the page values don’t refer to the page numbers printed on the page.
Instead, the physical page count is expected, where the first page always gets number

-d, --precision=digits
Specifies the maximal number of decimal places applied to floating-point attribute
values. All attribute values written to the generated SVG file(s) are rounded
accordingly. The parameter digits allows integer values from 0 to 6, where 0 enables
the automatic selection of significant decimal places. This is also the default value
if dvisvgm is called without option --precision.

-P, --progress[=delay]
Enables a simple progress indicator shown when time-consuming operations like
PostScript specials are processed. The indicator doesn’t appear before the given delay
(in seconds) has elapsed. The default delay value is 0.5 seconds.

-r, --rotate=angle
Rotates the page content clockwise by angle degrees around the page center. This
option is equivalent to -TRangle.

-R, --relative
SVG allows to define graphics paths by a sequence of absolute and/or relative
commands, i.e. each command expects either absolute coordinates or coordinates
relative to the current drawing position. By default, dvisvgm creates paths made up of
absolute commands. If option --relative is given, relative commands are created
instead which slightly reduces the size of the SVG files in most cases.

-s, --stdout
Don’t write the SVG output to a file but redirect it to stdout.

-T, --transform=commands
Applies a sequence of transformations to the SVG content. Each transformation is
described by a command beginning with a capital letter followed by a list of
comma-separated parameters. Following transformation commands are supported:

T tx[,ty]
Translates (moves) the page in direction of vector (tx,ty). If ty is omitted, ty=0
is assumed. The expected unit length of tx and ty are TeX points (1pt =
1/72.27in). However, there are several constants defined to simplify the unit
conversion (see below).

S sx[,sy]
Scales the page horizontally by sx and vertically by sy. If sy is omitted, sy=sx
is assumed.

R angle[,x,y]
Rotates the page clockwise by angle degrees around point (x,y). If the optional
arguments x and y are omitted, the page will be rotated around its center
depending on the chosen page format. When option -bnone is given, the rotation
center is origin (0,0).

KX angle
Skews the page along the x-axis by angle degrees. Argument angle can take any
value except 90+180k, where k is an integer.

KY angle
Skews the page along the y-axis by angle degrees. Argument angle can take any
value except 90+180k, where k is an integer.

FH [y]
Mirrors (flips) the page at the horizontal line through point (0,y). Omitting the
optional argument leads to y=h/2, where h denotes the page height (see pre-defined
constants below).

FV [x]
Mirrors (flips) the page at the vertical line through point (x,0). Omitting the
optional argument leads to x=w/2, where w denotes the page width (see pre-defined
constants below).

M m1,...,m6
Applies a transformation described by the 3×3 matrix
((m1,m2,m3),(m4,m5,m6),(0,0,1)), where the inner triples denote the rows.

All transformation commands of option -T, --transform are applied in the order
of their appearance. Multiple commands can optionally be separated by spaces.
In this case the whole transformation string has to be enclosed in double
quotes. All parameters are expressions of floating point type. You can either
give plain numbers or arithmetic terms combined by the operators + (addition),
- (subtraction), * (multiplication), / (division) or % (modulo) with common
associativity and precedence rules. Parentheses may be used as well.

Additionally, some pre-defined constants are provided:

ux horizontal position of upper
left page corner in TeX point
uy vertical position of upper left
page corner in TeX point units
h page height in TeX point units
(0 in case of -bnone)
w page width in TeX point units (0
in case of -bnone)

Furthermore, you can use the length constants pt, mm, cm and in, e.g. 2cm or
1.6in. Thus, option -TT1in,0R45 moves the page content 1 inch to the right and
rotates it by 45 degrees around the page center afterwards.

For single transformations you can also use options -c, -t and -r. Note that
the order in which these options are given is not significant, i.e. you can’t
use them to describe transformation sequences. They are simply independent
shorthand options for common transformations.

-t, --translate=tx[,ty]
Translates (moves) the page content in direction of vector (tx,ty). This option is
equivalent to -TTtx,ty.

-v, --verbosity=level
Controls the type of messages printed during a dvisvgm run:

0 no message output
1 error messages only
2 warning messages only
4 informational messages only

By adding these values you can combine the categories. The default level is 7,
i.e. all messages are printed.

-V, --version[=extended]
Prints the version of dvisvgm and exits. If the optional argument is set to yes, the
version numbers of the linked libraries are printed as well.

-z, --zip[=level]
Creates a compressed SVG file with suffix .svgz. The optional argument specifies the
compression level. Valid values are in the range of 1 to 9 (default value is 9).
Larger values cause better compression results but take more computation time.

This option cannot be combined with -s, --stdout.

-Z, --zoom[=factor]
Multiplies the width and height attributes of the SVG root element by argument factor
while the coordinate system of the graphic is retained. As a result, most SVG viewers
zoom the graphics accordingly. If a negative zoom factor is given, the width and
height attributes are omitted.


dvisvgm supports several sets of special commands that can be used to enrich DVI files
with additional features, like color, graphics, and hyperlinks. The evaluation of special
commands is delegated to dedicated handlers. Each handler is responsible for all special
statements of the same command set, i.e. commands beginning with the same prefix. To get a
list of actually provided special handlers, use option --list-specials (see above). This
section gives an overview of the special commands currently supported.

Special statement for changing the background/page color. Since SVG 1.1 doesn’t
support background colors, dvisvgm inserts a rectangle of the chosen color into the
generated SVG document. This rectangle always gets the same size as the selected or
computed bounding box. This background color command is part of the color special set
but is handled separately in order to let the user turn it off. For an overview of the
command syntax, see the documentation of dvips, for instance.

Statements of this command set provide instructions to change the text/paint color.
For an overview of the exact syntax, see the documentation of dvips, for instance.

dvisvgm offers its own small set of specials. The following list gives a brief

dvisvgm:raw text
Adds an arbitrary sequence of characters to the page section of the SVG document.
dvisvgm does not perform any validation here, thus the user has to ensure that the
resulting SVG is still valid. Parameter text may contain the expressions {?x},
{?y}, and {?color} that expand to the current x or y coordinate and the current
color, respectively. Furthermore, {?nl} expands to a newline character.

dvisvgm:rawdef text
This command is similar to dvisvgm:raw, but puts the raw text into the <defs>
section of the SVG document currently being generated.

dvisvgm:rawset name ... dvisvgm:endrawset
This pair of specials marks the begin and end of a definition of a named raw SVG
fragment. All dvisvgm:raw and dvisvgm:rawdef specials enclosed by dvisvgm:rawset
and dvisvgm:endrawset are not evaluated immediately but jointly stored under the
given name for later use. Once defined, the named fragment can be referenced
throughout the DVI file by dvisvgm:rawput (see below). The two commands
dvisvgm:rawset and dvisvgm:endrawset must not be nested, i.e. each call of
dvisvgm:rawset has to be followed by a corresponding call of dvisvgm:endrawset
before another dvisvgm:rawset may occur. Also, the identifier name must be unique
throughout the DVI file. Using dvisvgm:rawset multiple times together with the
same name leads to a warning message.

dvisvgm:rawput name
Inserts raw SVG fragments previously stored under the given name. dvisvgm
distinguishes between fragments that were specified with dvisvgm:raw or
dvisvgm:rawdef, and handles them differently: It inserts all dvisvgm:raw parts
every time dvisvgm:rawput is called, whereas the dvisvgm:rawdef portions go to the
<defs> section of the current SVG document only once.

dvisvgm:img width height file
Creates an image element at the current graphic position referencing the given
file. JPEG, PNG, and SVG images can be used here. However, dvisvgm does not check
the file format or the file name suffix. The lengths width and height must be
given as plain floating point numbers in TeX point units (1in = 72.27pt).

dvisvgm:bbox n[ew] name
Defines or resets a local bounding box called name. The name may consist of
letters and digits. While processing a DVI page, dvisvgm continuously updates the
(global) bounding box of the current page in order to determine the minimal
rectangle containing all visible page components (characters, images, drawing
elements etc.) Additionally to the global bounding box, the user can request an
arbitrary number of named local bounding boxes. Once defined, these boxes are
updated together with the global bounding box starting with the first character
that follows the definition. Thus, the local boxes can be used to compute the
extent of parts of the page. This is useful for scenarios where the generated SVG
file is post-processed. In conjunction with special dvisvgm:raw, the macro {?bbox
name} expands to the four values x, y, w, and h (separated by spaces) specifying
the coordinates of the upper left corner, width, and height of the local box name.
If box name wasn’t previously defined, all four values equal zero.

dvisvgm:bbox width height [depth]
Updates the bounding box of the current page by embedding a virtual rectangle (x,
y, width, height) where the lower left corner is located at the current DVI
drawing position (x,y). If the optional parameter depth is specified, dvisvgm
embeds a second rectangle (x, y, width, -depth). The lengths width, height and
depth must be given as plain floating point numbers in TeX point units (1in =
72.27pt). Depending on size and position of the virtual rectangle, this command
either enlarges the overall bounding box or leaves it as is. It’s not possible to
reduce its extent. This special should be used in conjunction with dvisvgm:raw in
order to update the viewport of the page properly.

dvisvgm:bbox a[bs] x1 y1 x2 y2
This variant of the bbox special updates the bounding box by embedding a virtual
rectangle (x1,y1,x2,y2). The points (x1,y1) and (x2,y2) denote two diagonal
corners of the rectangle given in TeX point units.

dvisvgm:bbox f[ix] x1 y1 x2 y2
This variant of the bbox special assigns an absolute (final) bounding box to the
resulting SVG. After executing this command, dvisvgm doesn’t further alter the
bounding box coordinates, except this special is called again later. The points
(x1,y1) and (x2,y2) denote two diagonal corners of the rectangle given in TeX
point units.

The following TeX snippet adds two raw SVG elements to the output and updates the
bounding box accordingly:

\special{dvisvgm:raw <circle cx='{?x}' cy='{?y}' r='10' stroke='black' fill='red'/>}
\special{dvisvgm:bbox 20 10 10}

\special{dvisvgm:raw <path d='M50 200 L10 250 H100 Z' stroke='black' fill='blue'/>}
\special{dvisvgm:bbox abs 10 200 100 250}

These specials were introduced with the emTeX distribution by Eberhard Mattes. They
provide line drawing statements, instructions for embedding MSP, PCX, and BMP image
files, as well as two PCL commands. dvisvgm supports only the line drawing statements
and ignores all other em specials silently. A description of the command syntax can be
found in the DVI driver documentation coming with emTeX (see CTAN).

The hyperref specification defines several variants on how to mark hyperlinked areas
in a DVI file. dvisvgm supports the plain HyperTeX special constructs as created with
hyperref package option hypertex. By default, all linked areas of the document are
marked by a rectangle. Option --linkmark allows to change this behavior. See above for
further details. Information on syntax and semantics of the HyperTeX specials can be
found in the hyperref manual.

pdfTeX and dvipdfmx introduced several special commands related to the generation of
PDF files. Currently, only two of them, pdf:mapfile and pdf:mapline are supported by
dvisvgm. These specials allow modifying the font map tree during the processing of DVI
files. They are used by CTeX, for example. dvisvgm supports both, the dvips and
dvipdfm font map format. For further information on the command syntax and semantics,
see the documentation of \pdfmapfile in the pdfTeX user manual.

The famous DVI driver dvips introduced its own set of specials in order to embed
PostScript code into DVI files, which greatly improves the capabilities of DVI
documents. One aim of dvisvgm is to completely evaluate all PostScript snippets and to
convert as many of them as possible to SVG. In contrast to dvips, dvisvgm uses
floating point arithmetics to compute the precise position of each graphic element,
i.e. it doesn’t round the coordinates. Therefore, the relative locations of the
graphic elements may slightly differ from those computed by dvips.

Since PostScript is a rather complex language, dvisvgm does not try to implement its
own PostScript interpreter but relies on Ghostscript (http://ghostscript.com) instead.
If the Ghostscript library was not linked to the dvisvgm binary, it is looked up and
loaded dynamically during runtime. In this case, dvisvgm looks for libgs.so.X on
Unix-like systems (supported ABI versions: 7,8,9), and for gsdll32.dll or gsdll64.dll
on Windows. You can override the default file names with environment variable LIBGS or
the command-line option --libgs. The library must be reachable through the ld search
path (*nix) or the PATH environment variable (Windows). Alternatively, the absolute
file path can be specified. If the library cannot be found, dvisvgm disables the
processing of PostScript specials and prints a warning message. Use option
--list-specials to check whether PostScript support is available, i.e. entry ps is

The PostScript handler also recognizes and evaluates bounding box data generated by
the preview package with option tightpage. If the data is present in a DVI file,
dvisvgm adapts the bounding box of the generated SVG file accordingly, and prints a
message showing the width, height, and depth of the box in TeX point units.
Especially, the depth value can be used to vertically align the SVG graphics with the
baseline of surrounding text in HTML or XSL-FO documents, for example.

The TPIC special set defines instructions for drawing simple geometric objects. Some
LaTeX packages, like eepic and tplot, use these specials to describe graphics.


dvisvgm file

Converts the first page of file.dvi to file.svg.

dvisvgm -z file

Converts the first page of file.dvi to file.svgz with default compression level 9.

dvisvgm -p5 -z3 -ba4-l -onewfile file

Converts the fifth page of file.dvi to newfile.svgz with compression level 3. The bounding
box is set to DIN/ISO A4 in landscape format.

dvisvgm --transform="R20,w/3,2h/5 T1cm,1cm S2,3" file

Converts the first page of file.dvi to file.svg where three transformations are applied.


dvisvgm uses the kpathsea library for locating the files that it opens. Hence, the
environment variables described in the library’s documentation influence the converter.

If dvisvgm was linked without the Ghostscript library, and if PostScript support has not
been disabled, the shared Ghostscript library is looked up during runtime via dlopen().
The environment variable LIBGS can be used to specify path and file name of the library.

The pre-compiled Windows versions of dvisvgm require a working installation of MiKTeX 2.9
or above. dvisvgm does not work together with the portable edition of MiKTeX because it
relies on MiKTeX’s COM interface only accessible in a local installation. To enable the
evaluation of PostScript specials, the original Ghostscript DLL gsdll32.dll must be
present and reachable through the search path. 64-bit Windows builds require the 64-bit
Ghostscript DLL gsdll64.dll. Both DLLs come with the corresponding Ghostscript installers
available from www.ghostscript.com.

The environment variable DVISVGM_COLORS specifies the colors used to highlight various
parts of dvisvgm’s message output. It is only evaluated if option --color is given. The
value of DVISVGM_COLORS is a list of colon-separated entries of the form gg=BF, where gg
denotes one of the color group indicators listed below, and BF are two hexadecimal digits
specifying the background (first digit) and foreground/text color (second digit). The
color values are defined as follows: 0=black, 1=red, 2=green, 3=yellow, 4=blue, 5=magenta,
6=cyan, 7=gray, 8=bright red, 9=bright green, A=bright yellow, B=bright blue, C=bright
magenta, D=bright cyan, E=bright gray, F=white. Depending on the terminal, the colors may
differ. Rather than changing both the text and background color, it’s also possible to
change only one of them: An asterisk (*) in place of a hexadecimal digit indicates the
default text or background color of the terminal.

All malformed entries in the list are silently ignored.

er error messages

wn warning messages

pn messages about page numbers

ps page size messages

fw information about the files

sm state messages

tr messages of the glyph tracer

pi progress indicator

Example: er=01:pi=*5 sets the colors of error messages (er) to red (1) on black (0), and
those of progress indicators (pi) to cyan (5) on default background (*).

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