The TeXbook

by Donald E. Knuth (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1984), x+483pp.
ISBN 0-201-13448-9
Japanese translation by Yoshiteru Sagiya and Nobuo Saito, TeXbukku, konpyuuta ni yoru sohan sisutemu (Tokyo: ASCII Corporation, 1989), xix+657pp.
Russian translation by M. V. Lisina, edited by S. V. Klimenko and S. N. Sokolov, Vse pro TeX (Protvino, Moscow: AO RDTeX, 1993), xvi+575pp.
Russian translation by L. F. Kozachenko, edited by Yu. V. Kozachenko, Vse pro TeX (Moscow: Vil'iams, 2003), 549pp.
French translation by Jean-Côme Charpentier, Le TeXbook: Composition informatique, (Paris: Vuibert Informatique, 2003), xiv+555pp.
Polish translation by Piotr Bolek, Włodzimierz Bzyl, and Adam Dawidziuk, TeX: Przewodnik użytkownika (Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Naukowo-Techniczne, 2005), xviii+541pp.

The definitive user manual and reference manual for TeX. Also published in hardcover as Computers & Typesetting, Volume A.


by Donald E. Knuth (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1986), xii+361pp.
ISBN 0-201-13444-6
Japanese translation by Yoshiteru Sagiya, METAFONT bukku (Tokyo: ASCII Corporation, 1994), xvi+451pp.
Russian translation by Mustafa R. Sait-Ametov, Vse pro METAFONT (Moscow: Vil'iams, 2003), 384pp.

The definitive user manual and reference manual for METAFONT. Also published in hardcover as Computers & Typesetting, Volume C.

Computers & Typesetting

Volume A, The TeXbook (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1984), x+483pp.
ISBN 0-201-13447-0
Volume B, TeX: The Program (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1986), xviii+600pp.
ISBN 0-201-13437-3
Volume C, The METAFONTbook (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1986), xii+361pp.
ISBN 0-201-13445-4
Volume D, METAFONT: The Program (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1986), xviii+566pp.
ISBN 0-201-13438-1
Volume E, Computer Modern Typefaces (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1986), xvi+588pp.
ISBN 0-201-13446-2
See special note about the Millennium Boxed Set below.

These volumes form the complete documentation of the TeX and METAFONT systems for digital typography. Volumes A and C are hardcover versions of the paperback user manuals.

Volumes B and D contain the source code for TeX and METAFONT, respectively, written with the literate programming methodology. ``Never before has a computer program of this size been spelled out so clearly and completely.''

Volume E contains precise definitions of about 500 letters, numerals, and other symbols, all described with METAFONT. This method of description produces an essentially infinite variety of well-hinted fonts from a single collection of specifications. Readers learn how to make their own personal variations, simply by changing a few parameters. Special symbols that are needed for unusual applications can also be created by using the many examples in this book as a model. The details captured in these METAFONT programs reveal many previously unpublished tricks that type designers have been learning during the past centuries.

Thus, the five volumes of Computers & Typesetting belong to the class of sets of books that describe precisely their own appearance.

All seven books are available from the publisher, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

TeX is a trademark of the American Mathematical Society.
METAFONT is a trademark of Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.


The first 33 printings of The TeXbook and the first 12 printings of The METAFONTbook each contained dozens of revisions, based on feedback from readers; but the present printings are “stable” and they probably will never need to be changed again in any significant way. Corrections to old printings can be found in the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN), a large collection of freely available material about TeX and METAFONT that appears in dozens of mirror sites through the world. The official errata lists appear in subdirectory systems/knuth/errata. File errata.tex in that subdirectory lists the errors in printings from the past ten years or so; here is a PDF file that shows them typeset. Other files, errata.two, ..., errata.ten in that directory give information about older printings. The files tex82.bug, mf84.bug, and cm85.bug contain records of all past changes to TeX, METAFONT, and Computer Modern. (A detailed history of all errors in TeX can be found in chapters 10 and 11 of the book Literate Programming and in chapter 34 of the book Digital Typography; the latest latest changes are discussed in the 2012 printing of the latter book.)

The complete electronic source for The TeXbook is file texbook.tex in CTAN subdirectory systems/knuth/tex; the complete electronic source for The METAFONTbook is file mfbook.tex in subdirectory systems/knuth/mf. The complete sources for the TeX and METAFONT programs are respectively systems/knuth/tex/tex.web and systems/knuth/mf/mf.web. The complete sources for the Computer Modern fonts are fonts/cm/mf/*.mf. All of these files contain up-to-date information, including all corrections in the errata lists.

If you're in too much of a hurry to wade through the CTAN archives, here's a current errata list in compressed PostScript, last updated 18 March 2008 (94K bytes).

If you think you have found a mistake that still persists in the current sources, please do not send it directly to me; I completed my work on TeX, METAFONT, and Computer Modern many years ago, and I'm working full-time on quite different things these days. Send purported error reports to; it will then be redirected to various people who have volunteered to vet such bug reports. Although everybody wants these systems to be outstanding examples of correctness, please submit reports only if you're quite sure that the error is real --- these TeX helpers are probably even busier than I am. After your submission has been certified, it will be put into a queue of things for me to look at, and I will study it in due time.

I still take full responsibility for the master sources of TeX, METAFONT, and Computer Modern. Therefore I periodically take a few days off from my current projects and look at all of the accumulated bug reports. This happened most recently in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, and 2013; following this pattern, I intend to check on purported bugs again in the years 2020, 2028, 2037, etc. The intervals between such maintenance periods are increasing, because the systems have been converging to an error-free state. The latest and best TeX is currently version 3.14159265 (and plain.tex is version 3.141592653); METAFONT is currently version 2.7182818 (and is version 2.71). My last will and testament for TeX and METAFONT is that their version numbers ultimately become $\pi$ and $e$, respectively. At that point they will be completely error-free by definition.


If you do succeed in finding a previously undiscovered bug in the programs for either TeX or METAFONT, I shall gladly reward you with 0x$80.00 ($327.68) at the Bank of San Serriffe. Corrections to errors in The TeXbook or The METAFONTbook are worth 0x$1.00 ($2.56), as in all my other books.

Millennium Boxed Set

A special printing of all five volumes of Computers & Typesetting was produced at the end of 2000, containing ``ultimate'' editions that even include errata not mentioned in the CTAN archives. Here is the publisher's description:

Donald E. Knuth's five volumes on Computers & Typesetting comprise the definitive user guides and thoroughly documented program code for the TeX and METAFONT systems. This open-source software is widely used around the world by scientists, mathematicians, and others to produce high-quality, aesthetically pleasing text, especially where technical content is included.
TeX and METAFONT have now reached a state of maturity that few pieces of software have ever been able to achieve. The start of the Millennium is a perfect time to offer users and libraries the opportunity to fill their reference shelves with an up-to-date and comprehensive collection of Knuth's work, as well as to encourage a broad audience of software developers to learn from the complete, robust, and portable systems built by a master programmer.
This Millennium Boxed Set---five elegantly printed books that describe their own method of creation---celebrates Knuth's monumental coupling of programming and typography. Originally published in 1986, each volume has changed so much in subsequent printings that nearly every page has been touched in some way. Improvements to the books have followed developments in digital printing technology; they also reflect corrections submitted over the years by thousands of volunteers. The volumes in this box are the latest and most accurate versions yet published.
If you have earlier printings of Knuth's books, or holes in your collection, the Millennium Boxed Set makes updating easy. If you have none of the books, you now can conveniently get them all at once. Whether your work requires that you generate superbly formatted text, or that you hone the skills needed for writing your own successful programs, you will find these volumes to be an immediately valuable resource, as well as a treasure for future generations.

Spiffy New Printings

The original editions of these books were produced with the technology of the 1980s: I supplied “camera-ready copy” (produced with TeX and METAFONT) and the publishers used a special camera to photograph that copy and to make negative images, from which plates could be produced for use on offset printing presses. Many illustrations were prepared first as photostats and “stripped in” by hand, using an interesting process called “waxing.” Shaded parts of the illustrations were photographically “screened,” etc.

Dozens of subsequent printings, including those of the Millennium Edition, were made from the original camera negatives, with replacement pages inserted when necessary but with the original illustrations retained.

But finally at the end of 2011, when it became necessary to reprint these books again with all of the latest corrections that have been suggested by the world's best nitpickers, the publishers discovered that the original films had been lost! That was bad news for me, because it meant that I had to put The Art of Computer Programming on the back burner for a month while working hard to reconstruct more than 2600 pages of highly technical material, including the remaking and placing of more than 1000 illustrations. But it was good news for everybody else, because now the latest printings are produced entirely with technology that can be expected to last for many generations, and the books themselves are significantly better in hundreds of small ways. I went through every page very carefully and introduced many refinements, which have made me extremely happy with the result. I'm now able to replace my personal desk copies, in which hundreds of handwritten notes had been scrawled since the Millennium edition came out, by fresh versions that are essentially perfect (as far as I know). This is especially true of Volume B, because important updates to the TeX software that were made in 2002 and 2007 have never before been available in print.

These new and updated printings of Volumes A, B, and C became available in April, 2012, including a new paperback version (12th printing) of The METAFONTbook. Hardcoverwise, the new Volume A is the 19th printing; the new Volume B is the 9th; and the new Volume C is the 8th. The new printings of Volume D (6th) and Volume E (7th) became available in March, 2013.

Copyright Infringement

The source file texbook.tex for The TeXbook has been available for many years, and it begins with the following lines:

% This manual is copyright (C) 1984 by the American Mathematical Society.
% All rights are reserved!
% The file is distributed only for people to see its examples of TeX input,
% not for use in the preparation of books like The TeXbook.
% Permission for any other use of this file must be obtained in writing
% from the copyright holder and also from the publisher (Addison-Wesley).
\errmessage{This manual is copyrighted and should not be TeXed}\repeat

From time to time, however, people have flagrantly violated these instructions, and posted PDF files of The TeXbook on the Internet.

Which of the words in those perfectly clear instructions do the people who do such things fail to understand? Please, if you happen to see illicit copies of these books, send a note to so that our user community can apply peer pressure and/or legal action to those who are unfairly exploiting our open-TeX approach.

The TeX Users Group

Your best source of current information about all aspects of TeX and METAFONT is the international TeX Users Group (TUG), together with local organizations in China, the Czech and Slovak republics, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Scandinavia, Slovenia, Spain (Catalan), Spain (Spanish), the UK, Vietnam, and possibly other countries; an up-to-date list appears at Send email to

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