I have generally been using pdfLaTeX to typeset my documents. I recently heard about XeTeX which supposedly is the same thing, except has better support for things like unicode and fonts.

Is there a tool which operates as XeTeX does but which allows a direct PDF translation, rather than going through intermediate stages?

2 Answers 2


Yes, and it's called LuaTeX. See also this question on se.

  • Can you tell Lualatex that a document uses Unicode as its character encoding, without using inputenc? Sep 24, 2010 at 7:08
  • Yes, you should not use inputenc (or anything else) if you're using UTF8 encoded input. For fontencoding, use EU2 fontenc or the fontspec package.
    – topskip
    Sep 24, 2010 at 7:18
  • That was really not subtle, Patrick ;-) Sep 24, 2010 at 16:58
  • @Charles: LuaTeX expects UTF-8 input, full stop. Well, that's not the whole story, as Patrick says, but that's how LuaTeX is supposed to ve used. Sep 24, 2010 at 17:00

XeLaTeX outputs a PDF by default. Yes, it does use xdvipdfmx along the way, but why should that bother you? No DVI file is left behind.

  • 1
    One problem is that routing the typesetting through xdvipdfmx precludes the use of pdfTeX-like enhancements such as those provided by the microtype package. microtype is currently adding support for LuaTeX.
    – Sharpie
    Sep 23, 2010 at 18:49
  • 1
    It's unclear to me that the intermediate level is the problem. Anyway, microtype is also adding (partial) support for XeTeX... See my question here. tex.stackexchange.com/questions/2986/…
    – frabjous
    Sep 23, 2010 at 19:45
  • 2
    microtype has added LuaTeX support long ago, and a preliminary version that works with XeTeX is available from xetex.tk
    – Philipp
    Sep 23, 2010 at 19:54
  • I stand corrected. Sorry for the noise.
    – Sharpie
    Sep 23, 2010 at 20:51
  • 1
    What you say is true for the TeX engine, but XeTeX uses an extended DVI format (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XeTeX), so I expect them to have added PNG support to that format. Sep 30, 2010 at 16:36

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