paper options

Nelson H. F. Beebe beebe at
Fri May 21 17:43:10 CEST 2021

David Carlisle responded to questions about paper size options in TeX,
and noted that there is no simple answer.  I concur, and wrote about
the problem here:

With TeX Live, and some Debian-family distributions, changing default
paper types is easy, and described in that document section.

With most other TeXware distributions, there is, frankly, a hideous
mess, with several files that need manual patching, and such changes
might be lost on the next system update.

If you have to make such changes on your system by manual patches, you
also have to regenerate the affected *.fmt files.  Unfortunately, many
O/S distributions have commented out configuration file lines that
would normally cuases particular format files to be remade.  You then
have to find those configuration files and their hidden lines,
uncomment them, and rerun the format-file regeneration.

At my site, all TeX engine formats are enabled, and there are more
than 50 of them in our 2019, 2020, and 2021 TeX Live trees.  However,
a single user on a personal machine might need fewer than half dozen
*.fmt files.

- Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
- University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
- Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe at  -
- 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe at  beebe at -
- Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: -

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