Are there some differences between .ist and .mst files in the index personalization? For example if I put an .ist file in the project folder and if I execute MakeIndex with this option:

makeindex -s istfilename

I have the personalization of the index, but also if I put an .mst file into the project folder I have that personalization but this time, without the previous options for MakeIndex, is there just this difference?

  • 5
    The difference is that if MakeIndex spots a .mst file in the current directory, it uses that as if you passed a -s option.
    – egreg
    Dec 4, 2012 at 11:33
  • @egreg so is the same thing use a .mst file and don't pass the -s option at MakeIndex and use a .ist file and pass the -s option; have I understand well?
    – Aurelius
    Dec 4, 2012 at 17:04
  • Yes, you did. My impression is that you've been asking several XY questions.
    – egreg
    Dec 4, 2012 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


When executing

makeindex filename

if a file named exactly filename.mst is present in the current directory, MakeIndex will use it as if the option -s filename.mst had been present in the command line.

So, when a unique index is being prepared, it may be convenient to have such a .mst file instead of naming it with the .ist extension and passing the -s option.

This however has a limited usefulness when more than one index is being prepared and a particular style file is desired. So my advice is to use .ist as the extension for the personal style file mystyle.ist and passing the -s mystyle option to the call of MakeIndex.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .