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Copyright (C) 1989, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94 Karl Berry. Steven Smith wrote the documentation for the commutative diagram macros. (He also wrote the macros.)

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this manual under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided also that the section entitled "GNU General Public License" is included exactly in the original, and provided that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this manual into another language, under the above conditions for modified versions, except that the section entitled "GNU General Public License" may be included in a translation approved by the author instead of in the original English.


The Eplain macro package expands on and extends the definitions in plain TeX. This manual describes the definitions that you, as either an author or a macro writer, might like to use. It doesn't discuss the implementation; see comments in the source code (`xeplain.tex') for that.

Eplain is not intended to provide "generic typesetting capabilities, as do LaTeX (written by Leslie Lamport) or Texinfo (written by Richard Stallman and others). Instead, it provides definitions that are intended to be useful regardless of the high-level commands that you use when you actually prepare your manuscript.

For example, Eplain does not have a command \section, which would format section headings in an "appropriate" way, such as LaTeX's \section. The philosophy of Eplain is that some people will always need or want to go beyond the macro designer's idea of "appropriate". Such canned macros are fine--as long as you are willing to accept the resulting output. If you don't like the results, or if you are trying to match a different format, you are out of luck.

On the other hand, almost everyone would like capabilities such as cross-referencing by labels, so that you don't have to put actual page numbers in the manuscript. The author of Eplain is not aware of any generally available macro packages that (1) do not force their typographic style on an author, and yet (2) provide such capabilities.

Besides such generic macros as cross-referencing, Eplain contains another set of definitions: ones that change the conventions of plain TeX's output. For example, math displays in TeX are, by default, centered. If you want your displays to come out left-justified, you have to plow through The TeXbook to find some way to do it, and then adapt the code to your own needs. Eplain tries to take care of the messy details of such things, while still leaving the detailed appearance of the output up to you.

Finally, numerous definitions turned out to be useful as Eplain was developed. They are also documented in this manual, on the chance that people writing other macros will be able to use them.

You can send bug reports or suggestions to tex-eplain@cs.umb.edu. The current version number of Eplain is defined as the macro \fmtversion at the end of the source file `eplain.tex'. When corresponding, please refer to it.

To get on this mailing list yourself, email `tex-eplain-request@cs.umb.edu' with a message whose body contains a line

subscribe you@your.preferred.address

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