I am working on a machine with MikTeX installed. When I want to open a certain package manual, I type texdoc packagename. However, I don't want to open it with Yap (the DVI viewer in MiKTeX). Acrobat Reader has been installed.

How to force MikTeX's texdoc to open package manuals with Acrobat Reader rather than Yap?

Note that I never find this problem when using TeXLive.

  • I have viewer_pdf = /usr/bin/acroread %s >/dev/null 2>/dev/null & in my ~/texmf/texdoc/texdoc.cnf config file which works fine with TeXLive under Linux. In principle this should work as well MikTeX under Windows, you just need to change the call to Windows format.
    – Martin Scharrer
    May 5 '12 at 12:37

On my PC with miktex 2.9. texdoc packagename (or the alias mthelp packagename) normally opens a webpage in my browser with a list of the various files belonging to the documentation of the package.

texdoc --view packagename tries to open the "main" documentation file. If this file is a pdf it is opened in the pdf-viewer, if it is a dvi the dvi-viewer YAP is used. In quite a lot of the older packages there isn't a pdf yet, the documentation exists only as dvi so it isn't possible to force texdoc to open such a dvi in a pdf viewer.

What you can do is: If you find a package where the documentation in miktex is still in a dvi-format and there exists a pdf version on CTAN then make a feature request at the miktex tracker that the miktex packages gets updated.

  • 1
    Sometimes on my machine, the html files are in Polish! Machine locale is set to english. May 5 '12 at 14:40
  • @YiannisLazarides: Surely you searched texdoc latex2e. It happened to me, too, some times. There’s a file latex2e.html in <MiKTeX>\doc\html\polish\latex2e (but there are more more under the polish subfolder). With Martin’s answer it should be possible, that first the existing PDF files are searched.
    – Speravir
    May 6 '12 at 13:02

According to the sources, mthelp/texdoc looks for documentation files in the following order by default: .chm;.html;.dvi;.pdf;.ps;.txt. So if it finds a DVI file, it's preferred over the PDF variant.

It's possible to override the configuration by adding the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\MiKTeX.org\MiKTeX\2.9\mthelp\DocExtensions and assign the desired format sequence to it, e.g. .chm;.html;.pdf;.dvi;.ps;.txt. Now, PDF docs should be preferred over DVI if available.

The registry key can easily be added/changed using the reg command on the command-line:

reg add HKCU\Software\MiKTeX.org\MiKTeX\2.9\mthelp /v DocExtensions /d ".chm;.html;.p

As noted by Speravir in the comment below, the texdoc executable (just a duplicate of mthelp) looks for the DocExtensions entry in registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\MiKTeX.org\MiKTeX\2.9\texdoc and doesn't use the mthelp settings. Thus, it's possible to define different lookup sequences for both utilities. In order to assign the value, the above call of reg.exe must be altered to

reg add HKCU\Software\MiKTeX.org\MiKTeX\2.9\texdoc /v DocExtensions /d ".chm;.html;.p
  • The options for the reg command must begin with / instead of -, at least in WinXP!
    – Speravir
    May 6 '12 at 0:48
  • Yes, you're right. On Win 7, you can also use hyphens instead of slashes. I'll edit the above command-line to be compatible.
    – Martin
    May 6 '12 at 7:20
  • I just observed an issue: When texdoc is used instead of mthelp, exactly what the OP did and what is mostly proposed here, one has to do a copy of the mthelp registry entry: HKCU\Software\MiKTeX.org\MiKTeX\2.9\texdoc etc. Please add this to your answer.
    – Speravir
    May 6 '12 at 14:21

In addition to the other answers: A lot of the documentation, which in TeXlive is in PDF format, is in MiKTeX contained in the DVI format. As far as I see, documentation in PDF format is only added on package updates, but only, when the package authors provide it by themselves. At time of writing the most recent DVI file in my MIKTeX installation is silence-doc.dvi with a file date 1st febr. 2012 for the package silence v1.4 from 2011/12/06.

What you always can do yourself is converting the DVI files into PDF: dvipdfmx <filename> should work in most cases, sometimes you will have to do dvips <filename> and in a second step ps2pdf <filename>. Then save these PDF files in a local TeXMF tree and together with Martin’s answer you should get the wanted behaviour.


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