TkInfo: a free browser for info files
Most GNU software documentation is written in the texinfo format (a
very restricted dialect of TeX) and then converted to
the info hypertext file format;
tkInfo is a graphical browser for these hypertext files. It requires Tcl7.4 and Tk4.0 or
better and runs on all systems which are supported by Tcl/Tk, i.e.,
Unix with X, Next, Windows, and MacOS.
Tcl/Tk is a free
scripting language for
quick development of portable
graphical user interfaces, among other things.
Features of tkInfo include:
TkInfo was orginally written by Kennard White for Tcl/Tk 3.6.
I made it work with
newer versions of Tcl/Tk, polished the interface a bit and added some features.
- Intuitive point-and-click interface.
- Supports index lookups (for info files which contain an index).
- File-wide search (exact or regular expression).
- Multiple windows.
- "Redirect window feature" (bound to right mouse button) allows easy
exploring of large menus.
- Repeatedly hitting Space will scroll through the whole info file in logical order.
- Can be operated with little mouse movement: important commands
bound to right button, scrolling with middle button, selecting with
- Quick mouse-less operation: Tab jumps from link to link, Return
selects, key bindings almost identical to the ones of the standard
info program and emacs' info mode.
- History list of visited info nodes.
- Can be embedded into other Tcl/Tk programs to provide on-line
- Deals with compressed info files.
There's also a RedHat-style .rpm
package of tkInfo and a
Debian-style .deb package. These need not always
up to date though.
I maintain a list of people who would like to get
announcements about new versions of tkinfo. Send me some email if you
would like to be added to that list.
Other free programs to process texinfo/info files
Please let me know if there are any others.
- The texinfo package at ftp://prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu/ includes the makeinfo program that converts texinfo to info. It also allows you to produce high-quality printed documentation from texinfo files, using TeX. Furthermore, it includes the program info, a character based browser for info files, and documentation about the texinfo system.
- The editor Emacs at ftp://prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu/
includes an info reader which allows for key-based or mouse-based
operation. Newer versions of the editor contain a cool feature, the
"speedbar", which provides a nice navigatable tree view of info
files. Emacs was originally a Unix program, but has since been ported
to Windows platforms.
- XEmacs, a variant of Emacs available from http://www.xemacs.org/, includes
the most powerful info reader to date; it supports bookmarks,
annotations, incremental search and index lookups. It is more user friendly than the
emacs info mode but still not too intuitive to use.
Once you've read the available help text you'll love it though.
Xemacs is huge and runs, contrary to what its name might suggest, on
Unix, Windows and Macs.
- TkMan, a very comfortable man page reader
available from https://sourceforge.net/projects/tkman/,
now includes a texinfo viewer. TkMan's formatting of info nodes
looks much better than
that of an ordinary info reader (such as tkInfo) and it also provides a
nice tree based view of the file structure; however, it needs the
texinfo sources of the documentation, not the info files. The latest
version of tkMan also needs a patched version of Tk8.0 which is kind
of annoying. Runs on Unix.
- Pinfo is a Unix text-mode browser for info files and
which works very much like the text-mode web browser lynx. It can be
gotten from http://zeus.polsl.gliwice.pl/~pborys/
- Pdftex can produce pdf files from texinfo input
using the pdftexinfo.tex macros which come with the pdftex
distribution. This produces nice, searchable, cross-linked files with
indexes and tables of contents which can then be viewed with
programs like xpdf or acroread. Pdftex can be gotten from http://ctan.tug.org/tex-archive/systems/pdftex/
- Kdehelp is an integrated browser for HTML documents, man
pages and info files. It is part of the KDE desktop/GUI and can be
gotten from the KDE homepage. KDE
is designed for Unix.
- Gnome Help Browser is an integrated browser for
HTML documents, man pages and info files. It is part of the Gnome
desktop/GUI and can be gotten from the GNOME homepage. GNOME is designed
- Minfo from ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/apps/doctools/ is a graphical info reader built on Motif and has a Mosaic-like interface. Much faster than tkInfo, but not quite as many features.
- Saxinfo from ftp://nexus.v-wave.com/pub/linux/ is a simple info browser with a cool tree view feature.
- Ginforee is a graphical info reader under
provides a tree view of info files, see http://www.cs.bris.ac.uk/~nathan/programming/ginfotree/index.html
- Xwpe is an integrated development environment for C/C++ programming that contains an info
reader. It's at ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/apps/editors/.
- Rhide at http://www.tu-chemnitz.de/~sho/rho/rhide/rhide.html is a popular Borland-like integrated development environment for GNU C/C++ and GNU Pascal running under Linux and DOS/Windows. It contains a nice pseudo-graphical (in the DOS style) info reader, which is also available standalone: InfView at http://members.xoom.com/stropea/infview.html. Includes bookmarks and full text search through all installed info files.
- Jed is a small and fast Emacs look-alike which also includes an
info reader. It can be gotten from ftp://space.mit.edu/pub/davis/jed/. Works on Unix and Windows.
- Xinfo at ftp://wuarchive.wustl.edu/systems/gnu/ is an old X-based info reader and rather buggy.
- Info2www at http://cgi.debian.org/www-master/debian.org/Packages/stable/doc/info2www.html is a CGI script for converting info files on the fly to HTML and serving them over the WWW. Here's an example of how it looks.
- Texi2html at http://www.mathematik.uni-kl.de/~obachman/Texi2html/ converts texinfo files to HTML. The output looks better than info2www's, but it needs to be stored permanently. The main disadvantage of converting texinfo to HTML is that you cannot do global searches in the resulting HTML tree and you cannot easily do index lookups.
- Makertf, available from several FTP sites, converts texinfo files to the
RTF format common on Windows systems. The RTF format can be viewed
with an RTF browser or converted to Windows-style .HLP files using
the Windows Help Compiler which is available for download from Microsoft.
- INFNG, available via FTP, converts info (not texinfo) files
to the Norton Guide format which is also common on Windows systems.
- OO-Browser is a powerful class browser and
editor for object oriented languages. It comes with the editor XEmacs and includes a
separate X-based program (xoobr) for tree views and stuff. OO-Browser
can also be used as an innovative object-oriented info browser. Neat
idea, but unfortunately still unusable for info file viewing.
Other Sources of Information