# TeX formats and engines

The sometimes confusing multitude of things with “TeX” in the name can be sorted in a matrix with extensions to either the macro set (format) or the executable (engine).

The fields show one of the possible commands to start compilation of a document with the engine/format combination. There is some variation between TeX distributions and versions of TeX distributions.

engine\format

plain TeX

LaTeX

ConTeXt

tex

-2

-

etex

latex

texexec --nobackend

pdfTeX

pdftex

pdflatex

texexec

XeTeX

xetex

xelatex

texexec --xtx4

luaTeX

luatex

lualatex

context5

1

2

E-TeX has been specified by the LaTeX team as the engine for the development of LaTeX, in the immediate future; as a result, LaTeX programmers may (in all current TeX distributions) assume e-TeX functionality [e-TeX catalogue entry].

3

Current TeX distributions incorporate the features of pdfTeX and e-TeX into a single executable.

4

ConTeXt Mark II (after creating an xtx format [http://wiki.contextgarden.net/XeTeX])

5

ConTeXt Mark IV