arlatex (1) - Linux Manuals

arlatex: archive a number of ancillary LaTeX files into a master


arlatex - archive a number of ancillary LaTeX files into a master .tex file


arlatex [--outfile=filename.tex] --document=filename.tex filename ...

arlatex --version

arlatex --help


arlatex is an archiving program like shar, tar, zip, etc. Unlike those other archivers, however, arlatex is designed specifically for use with LaTeX. arlatex takes the name of a master .tex file and a number of ancillary files used by that master file (e.g., .tex, .sty, .cls, and .eps files). From these, arlatex outputs a single file that, when it's run through latex, both regenerates the ancillary files and compiles the document into a .dvi file.

arlatex has a few advantages over other archiving programs:

The .tex files produced by arlatex are in a plain-text format. They are therefore perfectly portable and trivial to e-mail to colleagues.
arlatex needs only LaTeX to run. There is no dependence on any external tools.
There is no explicit extraction step. As the generated document is run through latex, it extracts the ancillary files and builds the document in the same step. The user running latex may not even notice that additional files are being produced.

arlatex works by writing a number of "\begin{filecontents*}" ... "\end{filecontents*}" blocks to the output file, followed by the contents of the master file. (In fact, any LaTeX comments at the beginning of the master file are hoisted to the top of the generated file. This enables the author to draw attention, if so desired, to the fact that ancillary files will be generated.) The "filecontents*" environment, part of standard LaTeX2e, writes its contents verbatim to a specified file.


Output the arlatex script's version number.
Output brief arlatex usage information.
--document=.tex file
Specify the master document. The output from arlatex is this file with all of the other files named on the command line prepended to it. Note that "--document" is a mandatory parameter; arlatex will abort with an error message if "--document" is not specified.
--outfile=.tex file
Specify the output file. The output file looks just like the master document, but with a number of "filecontents*" environments preceding the "\documentclass" line. If "--outfile" is not specified, output will be written to the standard output device.


Suppose you have a paper called paper.tex that loads a custom package with "\usepackage{mypackage}". You want to submit the paper to a conference, but you want to be absolutely certain that mypackage.sty doesn't get lost as your paper is shuttled from person to person. Here's how arlatex can be of use:

    arlatex --document=paper.tex mypackage.sty --outfile=paper-submit.tex

When paper-submit.tex is processed with latex, it builds just like the original paper.tex, except that it additionally creates a mypackage.sty in the current directory:

    This is TeX, Version 3.14159 (Web2C 7.3.1)
    LaTeX2e <1999/12/01> patch level 1
    Babel <v3.6Z> and hyphenation patterns for american, french, german,
    ngerman, italian, nohyphenation, loaded.

    LaTeX Warning: Writing file `./mypackage.sty'.

    Document Class: article 1999/09/10 v1.4a Standard LaTeX document class
    (/usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/base/size12.clo)) (mypackage.sty)

As another example, here's how you could bundle together all of the files needed to build a large document for longevity:

    arlatex --document=thesis.tex abstract.tex introduction.tex
      background.tex approach.tex experiments.tex relatedwork.tex
      conclusions.tex before.eps after.eps fast.eps slow.eps
      podunkUthesis.cls --outfile=thesis-all.tex

As the number of files to archive together increases it becomes more cumbersome to run arlatex manually. Fortunately, using arlatex with bundledoc is straightforward. bundledoc finds all of the files needed to build the document, and arlatex combines them into a single file. The following are examples of the "bundle:" line you might use in a bundledoc configuration file:

   bundle: (arlatex --document=$BDBASE.tex $BDINPUTS \
   bundle: arlatex --document=%BDBASE%.tex %BDINPUTS% \

See the bundledoc documentation for more information.


arlatex makes use of LaTeX2e's "filecontents*" environment. "filecontents*" refuses to overwrite an existing file. However, it also refuses to create a file that exists anywhere that LaTeX can find it. That is, if the user running latex on an arlatex-generated .tex file already has a /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/whatever/whatever.sty file then "filecontents*" will refuse to create a whatever.sty file, even in a different directory.


Scott Pakin, scott+bdoc [at]


bundledoc(1), latex(1), shar(1), tar(1), zip(1)