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Computers and Typesetting

Computers and Typesetting is a 5-volume set of books by Donald Knuth describing the TeX and Metafont systems for Digital typography. Knuth's computers and typesetting project was the result of his frustration on the lack of decent software for the typesetting of mathematical and technical documents. The result of this project include TeX for typesetting, Metafont for font construction and the computer modern typefaces that are the default fonts used by TeX. In the series of 5 books Knuth not only describes the TeX and Metafont languages (volumes A and C), he also describes and documents the source code (in the WEB programming language) of the TeX and Metafont interpreters (volumes B and D), and the source code for the computer modern fonts used by TeX (volume E). The book set stands as a tour de force demonstration of Literate programming.

The books are loved by Mathematicians and other TeX-dependent life-forms. They are less well appreciated by computer scientists and programmers, as the TeX project was an 8-year diversion to Knuth's multi-volume The Art of Computer Programming.

The five volumes are published by Addison-Wesley.

  1. Volume A: The TeXbook. Describes the TeX typesetting language. It is by far the most common and available of the set, as the TeX interpreter is widely used for typesetting. It is available in softcover ISBN 0201134489 (blue spiral-bound with that built-in flap for a bookmark) and hardcover ISBN 0201134470
  2. Volume B: TeX: The program. A documented listing of the source code of the TeX interpreter The 1986 edition in hardcover is ISBN 0201134373
  3. Volume C: The METAFONTbook. Describes the Metafont font description language. Hardcover ISBN 0201134454, softcover ISBN 0201134446.
  4. Volume D: Metafont: The program. A documented listing of the source code of the Metafont interpreter. Hardcover ISBN 0201134381, paperback ISBN 0201606585
  5. Volume E: Computer Modern Typefaces. A character-by-character listing (in the Metafont language) of the source code for the Computer Modern typefaces (cmr, cmbx, cmti, ...) used by TeX. Hardcover: ISBN 0201134462, Softcover: ISBN 0201606607
The set is also available as a hardcover boxed set with the latest editions as of the year 2000. ISBN 0201734168

Donald Knuth maintains a page on errata for each of the books at