LATEX2HTML (Version 2002-2-1 [1.70])


LATEX2HTML is a conversion tool that allows documents written in LATEX to become part of the World-Wide Web. In addition, it offers an easy migration path towards authoring complex hyper-media documents using familiar word-processing concepts, including the power of a LATEX-like macro language capable of producing correctly structured HTML tags.

LATEX2HTML replicates the basic structure of a LATEX document as a set of interconnected HTML files which can be explored using automatically generated navigation panels. The cross-references, citations, footnotes, the table-of-contents and the lists of figures and tables, are also translated into hypertext links. Formatting information which has equivalent "tags" in HTML (lists, quotes, paragraph-breaks, type-styles, etc.) is also converted appropriately. The remaining heavily formatted items such as mathematical equations, pictures etc. are converted to images which are placed automatically at the correct position in the final HTML document.

LATEX2HTML extends LATEX by supporting arbitrary hypertext links and symbolic cross-references between evolving remote documents. It also allows the specification of conditional text and the inclusion of raw HTML commands. These hyper-media extensions to LATEX are available as new commands and environments from within a LATEX document.


  • Man Page: To get the man page for LATEX2HTML simlpy type

    $ latex2html -h

  • Postscript version of the LATEXHTML manual is in the directory /net/appls/doc/latex2html.


The LATEX2HTML translator is used to create Web pages from document source written for the LATEX typesetting system, or simply containing LATEX commands.

To use LATEX2HTML to translate a file <file>.tex containing LATEX commands, simply type:

$ latex2html <file>.tex

This will create a new directory called <file> which will contain the generated HTML files, some log files and possibly some images.

Basically the translator reads the source document and creates a linked set of HTML pages, displaying the information it contains. The LATEX commands and environments that are found are interpreted either as "markup" instructions, or as macros expanding into more text or markup commands. Where such markup corresponds to the intended use for markup tags in the HTML language, a direct translation is made. If there is no natural way to present the information using simple text embellished with HTML markup tags, then an image is generated, using LATEX itself to interpret the portion of code.

Of course this is a drastically over-simplified description of what LATEX2HTML actually does. Many questions spring readily to mind. The answers to these and the options available to handle particular situations are discussed in the LATEX2HTML manual.


Following is a listing of the main features of the translator; more specific details on these is given in the LATEX2HTML manual.

The LATEX2HTML translator ...

  • breaks up a document into one or more components as specified by the user;
  • provides optional, customisable iconic navigation panels on every page which contain links to other parts of the document, or other documents;
  • handles inlined equations ( $sum_{i=1}^{n}$ = $int_{0}^{1}$ ), handles equation alignment ( ABC + D ), right-justified numbered equations, tables, figures) and any arbitrary environment. Either the complete environment or subparts thereof are passed to LATEX for conversion to images, which are then either included in the document or are made available through hypertext links.
  • figures or tables can be arbitrarily scaled and oriented, and shown either as inlined images or ``thumbnail'' sketches or their contents displayed within a table constructed using the <TABLE> tags of HTML 3.2.
  • theorem-like environments are supported, along with automatic numbering and counter dependencies.
  • can produce output suitable for browsers that support inlined images or character-based browsers (as specified by the user). In particular the TEX or LATEX code for mathematical expressions and formulas will be displayed in character-based browsers, such as lynx.
  • coloured text and/or background is fully supported, as is the ability to use an image to create a tiled backdrop.
  • handles definitions of new commands, environments and counters even when these are defined in external files for input;
  • handles footnotes, tables of contents, lists of figures and tables, bibliographies and can generate an index. By including hyperlinks between index entries, simple navigation aids can be built into the index, for easy browsing.
  • automatically translates cross-references and citations into hyper-links, and extends the LATEX cross-referencing mechanism to work not just within a document but between documents which may reside in remote locations;
  • translates LATEX accent and special character commands (e.g. A Øö £©¶) to the equivalent ISO-Latin-1 or Unicode character set, where possible;
  • recognises hypertext links (to multi-media resources or arbitrary Internet services such as sound, video, ftp, http, news) and links which invoke arbitrary program scripts--all expressed as LATEX commands;
  • recognises conditional text which is intended only for the hypertext version, or only for the paper (.dvi) version;
  • can include raw HTML in a LATEX document (e.g. in order to specify interactive forms);
  • can deal sensibly with virtually all of the concepts and commands described in the LATEX blue book, where there is a meaningful interpretation appropriate to an HTML document, as well as many other LATEX constructions, such as are described in the LATEX Companion and LATEX Graphics Companion (e.g. XY-pic);
  • can be configured to translate equations either as GIF images or as HTML 3.0 mark-up (as browsers become available which are suitable for the task), or by making images of subparts of equations, as required.
  • links symbolic references across document segments which have been independently processed;
  • will try to translate any document with embedded LATEX commands, irrespective of whether it is complete or syntactically legal.