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LUATEX(1) General Commands Manual LUATEX(1)


luatex, dviluatex, luahbtex, luajittex, texlua, texluac - An extended version of TeX using Lua as an embedded scripting language


luatex [--lua=FILE] [OPTION]... [TEXNAME[.tex]] [COMMANDS]
luatex [--lua=FILE] [OPTION]... \FIRST-LINE
luatex [--lua=FILE] [OPTION]... &FMT [ARGS]


Run the luaTeX typesetter on TEXNAME, usually creating TEXNAME.pdf. Any remaining COMMANDS are processed as luaTeX input, after TEXNAME is read.

Alternatively, if the first non-option argument begins with a backslash, interpret all non-option arguments as a line of luaTeX input.

Alternatively, if the first non-option argument begins with a &, the next word is taken as the FMT to read, overriding all else. Any remaining arguments are processed as above.

If no arguments or options are specified, prompt for input.

If called as texlua it acts as a Lua interpreter. If called as texluac it acts as a Lua bytecode compiler.

LuaTeX began as an extended version of pdfTeX with Unicode and OpenType font support, embedded Lua scripting language, the e-TeX and Omega extensions, as well as an integrated MetaPost engine, that can create PDF files as well as DVI files. For more information about luatex, see; and you can read the LuaTeX manual using the texdoc utility (texdoc luatex).

All LuaTeX text input and output is considered to be Unicode text, although various filters make it possible to support any encoding.

In DVI mode, LuaTeX can be used as a complete replacement for the TeX engine.

In PDF mode, LuaTeX can natively handle the PDF, JPG, JBIG2, and PNG graphics formats. LuaTeX cannot include PostScript or Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) graphics files; first convert them to PDF using epstopdf (1).

The luajittex variant includes the Lua just-in-time compiler.

The luahbtex variant can use the HarfBuzz engine for glyph shaping, instead of LuaTeX's built-in shaper.


When the LuaTeX executable starts, it looks for the --lua command-line option. If there is no --lua option, the command line is interpreted in a similar fashion as in traditional pdfTeX and Aleph. But if the option is present, LuaTeX will enter an alternative mode of command-line parsing in comparison to the standard web2c programs. The presence of --lua makes most of other options unreliable, because the lua initialization file can disable kpathsea and/or hook functions into various callbacks.

The lua initialization file.

The following two options alter the executable behaviour:

Start LuaTeX as a Lua interpreter. In this mode, it will set Lua's arg[0] to the found script name, pushing preceding options in negative values and the rest of the command line in the positive values, just like the Lua interpreter. LuaTeX will exit immediately after executing the specified Lua script.
Start LuaTeX as a Lua byte compiler. In this mode, LuaTeX is exactly like luac from the standalone Lua distribution, except that it does not have the -l switch, and that it accepts (but ignores) the --luaconly switch.

Then the regular web2c options:

Debug format loading.
Sets \pdfdraftmode so luaTeX doesn't write a PDF and doesn't read any included images, thus speeding up execution.

Synonym for --shell-escape.

Synonym for --no-shell-escape.

Enable the \write18{command} construct, and Lua functions os.execute(), os.exec(), os.spawn(), and io.popen(). The command can be any shell command. This construct is normally disallowed for security reasons.

Disable the \write18{command} construct and the other Lua functions, even if it is enabled in the texmf.cnf file.
Enable restricted version of \write18, os.execute(), os.exec(), os.spawn(), and io.popen(), only commands listed in texmf.cnf file are allowed.
Print error messages in the form file:line:error which is similar to the way many compilers format them.
Disable printing error messages in the file:line:error style.
Use FORMAT as the name of the format to be used, instead of the name by which luaTeX was called or a %& line.
Print help message and exit.
Start in INI mode, which is used to dump formats. The INI mode can be used for typesetting, but no format is preloaded, and basic initializations like setting catcodes may be required.
Sets the interaction mode. The MODE can be either batchmode, nonstopmode, scrollmode, and errorstopmode. The meaning of these modes is the same as that of the corresponding \commands.
Use NAME for the job name, instead of deriving it from the name of the input file.
Sets path searching debugging flags according to the BITMASK. See the Kpathsea manual for details.
Enable mktexFMT generation, where FMT must be either tex or tfm.
Disable the luasocket (network) library.
In DVI mode, use STRING for the DVI file comment instead of the date. This option is ignored inPDF mode.
Write output files in DIRECTORY instead of the current directory. Look up input files in DIRECTORY first, then along the normal search path.
Set the output format mode, where FORMAT must be either pdf or dvi. This also influences the set of graphics formats understood by luaTeX.
Pretend to be program NAME (only for kpathsea).
Enable the filename recorder. This leaves a trace of the files opened for input and output in a file with extension .fls.
Disable some Lua commands that can easily be abused by a malicious document.
Enable/disable SyncTeX extension.
Print version information and exit.
Print credits and version details.
These are always on.
These are always off.


pdftex(1), etex(1), aleph(1), lua(1).


The primary authors of LuaTeX are Taco Hoekwater, Hartmut Henkel, Hans Hagen, and Luigi Scarso, with help from Martin Schröder, Karel Skoupy, and Han The Thanh.

TeX was designed by Donald E. Knuth, who implemented it using his Web system for Pascal programs. It was ported to Unix at Stanford by Howard Trickey, and at Cornell by Pavel Curtis. The version now offered with the Unix TeX distribution is that generated by the Web to C system (web2c), originally written by Tomas Rokicki and Tim Morgan.

The LuaTeX home page is

17 November 2019 Web2C 2022