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Langue: en

Version: 08/05/2010 (fedora - 01/12/10)

Section: 1 (Commandes utilisateur)


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


dvisvgm [ options ] file [.dvi]


The command-line utility dvisvgm converts DVI files, as generated by TeX/LaTeX, to the XML-based scalable vector graphics format SVG. Since the current SVG standard 1.1 doesncqt 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.

dvisvgm should properly convert all pages that are made up of fonts and rules only. However, the utility also supports a couple of DVI extensions defined in terms of DVI specials. For a more detailed overview, see section support of specials below.

As SVG is a vector based graphics format, dvisvgm tries to convert the glyph outlines of all used fonts into scalable path descriptions. The fastest way to do that is to extract the path information from PFB (PostScript Type 1) files. So, if dvisvgm is able to find a PFB file for a required font, it will read the necessary information from it.

TeXcqs main source for font descriptions is Metafont though, which produces bitmap output. Thatcqs why not all obtainable TeX fonts are available in PFB format. In these cases dvisvgm tries to vectorize Metafontcqs output (GF fonts) by tracing the glyph bitmaps. The results are not as perfect as most (manually optimized) PFB outlines but are nonetheless really nice in most cases.


-a, --trace-all=[retrace]

This option forces dvisvgm to trace not just 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 that are 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 affect if font caching is active. Thus, --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.
Itcqs 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 the page size stored in the DVI file will be used
min the minimal bounding box will be computed and assigned
none no bounding box will be 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 above mentioned size specifiers without additional blanks. Furthermore, the orientation suffixes cancqt 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 woncqt be rotated.

-c, --scale=sx[,sy]

Scales page content horizontally by sx and vertically by sy. This option is equivalent to -TSsx,sy.

-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. 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 and some information about the stored fonts.


Enables colorization of messages printed during the conversion process.

-e, --exact

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

-h, --help

Prints a short summary of all available command-line options.


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

-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. The categories are identified by the prefix of the special statements. Itcqs usually a leading word separated from the rest of the statement by a colon or a blank, e.g. color or ps.


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

-m, --map-file=file

Sets the map file that is used to look up font names and encodings. dvisvgm does not provide its own map file but tries to use available ones coming with dvips or dvipdfm. If option -m is not given dvisvgm looks for,, and (in this order). Without further options, the file specified by option -m will be used instead of the default maps. If you want dvisgvm to load the given file additionally to the default maps, add a leading + to the file/path, e.g. For further information about the file format see the manuals of dvips and dvipdfm.

-M, --mag=factor

Sets the maginfication factor used for 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.

-n, --no-fonts

If this option is given, dvisvgm doesncqt create font elements but uses paths instead. The resulting SVG file is usually bigger but concurrently more compatible with most applications that doncqt support SVG fonts yet. This option implies --no-styles.

-S, --no-specials[=names]

Disable processing of special commands that are 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 a unique identifier referencing a special handler. Option --list-specials lists all currently available handlers and their names. All unsupported special statements are silently ignored.


By default, dvisvgm uses CSS styles and class attributes to reference fonts because itcqs 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.


Suppresses the generation of missing font files. If dvisvgm cancqt find a font file through the kpathsea lookup mechanism, it calls the external tools mktextfm or mktexmf by default. This option disables these calls.

-o, --output=pattern

Sets the name pattern of the output file. The parameter pattern is a string that may contain the variables %f and %p. %f stands for the base name of the DVI file, i.e. the DVI filename without suffix, and %p is the current page number. By default, the 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 is used to get the value of environment variables, and must therefore be protected by a second percent sign, e.g. --output=%%f-%%p.

-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 doesncqt 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 not given. 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 doncqt refer to the page numbers printed on the page. Instead, the physical page count is expected, where the first page always gets number 1.

-P, --progress[=delay]

Enables a simple progress indicator shown when time-consuming operations like PostScript specials are processed. The indicator doesncqt appear before the given delay (in seconds). The default delay value is 0.5 seconds.

-r, --rotate=angle

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

-s, --stdout

Doncqt write output to a file but redirect it to stdout.

-t, --translate=tx[,ty]

Translates (moves) page content in direction of vector (tx,ty). This option is equivalent to -TTtx,ty.

-T, --transform=commands

Applies a sequence of transformations to the SVG content. Each transformation is described by a command that begins with a capital letter followed by a list of comma-separated parameters. Following transformation commands are supported:
T tx[,ty]
Translates (moves) 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 page horizontally by sx and vertically by sy. If sy is omitted sy=sx is assumed.

R angle[,x,y]

Rotates 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 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 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) 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) 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), - (substraction), * (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 units
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 cancqt use them to describe transformation sequences. They are simply independent shorthand options for common transformations.


dvisvgm supports several sets of special commands that can be used to enrich DVI files with additional features, like color, graphics or hyperlinks. The evaluation of special commands is done by various handlers, where 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).


Special statement for changing the background/page color. Since SVG 1.1 doesncqt support background colors, dvisvgm inserts a rectangle of the chosen color. In the current version, this rectangle always gets the size of the minimal bounding box. This 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 overview.
dvisvgm:raw text
Adds an arbitrary sequence of characters to the SVG output. dvisvgm does not perform any validation here, thus the user of this special has to ensure that the resulting SVG is still valid. The parameter text may contain the macros {?x}, {?y}, and {?color} which are expanded to the current x or y coordinate and the current color, respectively. Also, the macro {?nl} expands to a newline character.

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 wasncqt 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. Itcqs not possible to reduce its extent. This special should be used in conjunction with dvisvgm:raw in order to properly update the viewport of the page.

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 doesncqt 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, all other em specials are silently ignored. A description of the command syntax can be found in the DVI driver documentation coming with emTeX (see CTAN).


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 the PostScript code and to convert a large amount of it to SVG. Since PostScript is a rather complex language, dvisvgm does not try to implement its own PostScript interpreter but uses Ghostscript instead. If the Ghostscript library was not linked while building dvisvgm, it is looked up and dynamically loaded during runtime. In this case, dvisvgm looks for on Unix-like systems, and gsdll32.dll on Windows. You can override these default file names with the environment variable LIBGS. The library must be installed and reachable through the ld search path (*nix) or the PATH environment variable (Windows). If it cannot be found, the evaluation of PostScript specials is disabled. Use option --list-specials to check whether PS support is available, i.e. the entry ps is present.


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 first page of file.dvi to file.svg.

 dvisvgm -z file

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

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

Converts 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 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 librarycqs documentation influence the converter.

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

The pre-compiled Windows version of dvisvgm requires a working installation of MiKTeX 2.7 or above. To enable evaluation of PostScript specials, the original Ghostscript DLL must be present.


The location of the following files is determined by the kpathsea library. To check the actual kpathsea configuration you can use the kpsewhich utility.


Font encoding files


Font glyph data files (cache files created by dvisvgm)


Font map files


Metafont input files


PostScript Type 1 font files


PostScript header/prologue files


TeX font metric files


TrueType font files


Virtual font files


tex(1), mf(1), mktexmf(1), grodvi(1), potrace(1), and the kpathsea library info documentation.


Project home page

SourceForge project site


Written by Martin Gieseking <>


Copyright © 2005-2010 by Martin Gieseking. Free use of this software is granted under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3 or, (at your option) any later version.

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