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2.2 Output files

LaTeX produces a main output file and at least two auxiliary files. The main output file’s name ends in either .dvi or .pdf.

.dvi

If LaTeX is invoked with the system command latex then it produces a DeVice Independent file, with extension .dvi. You can view this file with a command such as xdvi, or convert it to a PostScript .ps file with dvips or to a Portable Document Format .pdf file with dvipdfmx. The contents of the file can be dumped in human-readable form with dvitype. A vast array of other DVI utility programs are available (http://mirror.ctan.org/dviware).

.pdf

If LaTeX is invoked via the system command pdflatex, among other commands (see TeX engines), then the main output is a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. Typically this is a self-contained file, with all fonts and images included.

LaTeX also produces at least two additional files.

.log

This transcript file contains summary information such as a list of loaded packages. It also includes diagnostic messages and perhaps additional information for any errors.

.aux

Auxiliary information is used by LaTeX for things such as cross references. For example, the first time that LaTeX finds a forward reference—a cross reference to something that has not yet appeared in the source—it will appear in the output as a doubled question mark ??. When the referred-to spot does eventually appear in the source then LaTeX writes its location information to this .aux file. On the next invocation, LaTeX reads the location information from this file and uses it to resolve the reference, replacing the double question mark with the remembered location.

LaTeX may produce yet more files, characterized by the filename ending. These include a .lof file that is used to make a list of figures, a .lot file used to make a list of tables, and a .toc file used to make a table of contents (see Table of contents etc.). A particular class may create others; the list is open-ended.


Unofficial LaTeX2e reference manual