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What is pdfTeX?
pdfTeX is an extension to the typesetting program TeX. It is included in most modern distributions of LaTeX (including TeX Live, MacTeX?, and MiKTeX) and used as the default TeX engine. pdfTeX is also LyX's default output format.
The main difference between TeX and pdfTeX is that whereas TeX outputs DVI files, pdfTeX can output PDF files directly. This allows tight integration of PDF features such as hypertext links and tables of contents, using packages such as hyperref. Images in the format PNG, JPG, PDF and GIF can directly be embedded to the PDF file.
Comparison to other TeX engines
- pdfTeX supports the microtypographic features character protrusion (which generalizes the concept of hanging punctuation) and font expansion.
- The engine XeTeX supports fewer microtypographic features than pdfTeX but it allows you to use any OpenType and TrueType font for your documents. XeTeX furthermore supports many writing systems and scripts (Arabic, Hindi, etc.) which make it the preferred engine for non-Roman languages and multi-language documents.
- The engine LuaTeX also allows you to use any OpenType and TrueType font for your document and supports some special microtypographic features like a more variable font expansion.
pdfTeX TeX engine