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How to install HieroTex on Mac OS X

This page is seriously outdated. If you're looking for an easy way to install HieroTeX on Mac OS X 10.3-10.5, please check out my new webpage with updated installation instructions.

What is HieroTex?

HieroTex is a Tex-package by S. Rosmorduc which allows you to type hieroglyphs in Latex, an advanced typesetting application. It gives a very high quality output (as pdf- or PostScript files) and has lots of options for typesetting (stacking and shading hieroglyphs, writing from left to right of from right to left, writing in columns, etc. You can also easily include transliteration, translation and grammatical rules). For more information go to S. Rosmorducs home page of HieroTex, or read the documentation to get an idea of the applications capabilities.

Why this page to install HieroTex on OS X?

HieroTex is only provided as source code. This means you have to compile it yourself on your computer before you can use it. Since it has been developed on Linux, it will probably compile without any problems on most Linux systems…but not so on Mac OS X! Most Egyptologists who want to use the program however, aren’t such techies that they will be able to compile and install it themselves. (I also had to call upon some of my friends who study computer science.) For these people this page adds a more comprehensive explanation of the installation procedure on Mac OS X, which is not specifically covered in the documentation. Now, let’s go on to the installation!

Things you need before installing HieroTex

First of all, HieroTex is not a complete application itself. In fact, it is just an extension of the well-known Latex typesetting system. So you'd like to install Latex first, of course. One way to do this is with Fink and Fink Commander (an OS X graphical user interface for the text-based program). Fink is an application that is used to install common UNIX open source applications (such as The Gimp) on OS X. Just download and install both Fink and Fink Commander on your computer (this shouldn’t be a problem, you can find all the information you need on their respective websites).

Please note that Fink will not work if you haven’t installed the Apple Developer Tools. These include some applications required by Fink (e.g. the gcc-compiler). So first ensure you have installed the Developer Tools (named XCode in OS X 10.3). This can be easily checked in the Finder. If you have a folder ‘Developer’ (with a hammer on the folder icon) on your ‘Macintosh HD’, the Developer Tools are already installed on your system (screenshot 1). (Click on any of the screenshots to see a larger version, which is a bit more clear.) If not, install them from your Mac OS X cd-rom/dvd or download them from Apple's website.

Installing Latex

After the installation of these two (or three) applications, launch Fink Commander.

  1. After a couple of seconds you see the database with all available applications you can install using Fink (screenshot 2).
  2. Then just type in the search box at the right top ‘tetex’. This will list all matching files.
  3. Select ‘tetex (Complete distribution of the Tex typesetting system)’ (screenshot 3). Then click on the second icon from left in the toolbar (the one with ‘.h’ and ‘+’).
  4. Now the installation procedure is starting. You'll have to be logged in as administrator (this is usually the first user you’ve created on your computer). If you haven’t got administrator rights, you’ll be asked for an administrator username and password.

During the installation, Fink Commander can ask you a couple of questions:

  • a list of all the packages that will be installed is presented first, you have the option to abort (‘N’) or continue (‘Y’) the process. Type ‘Y’ or just choose the default option.
  • if downloading of some files fails, you can choose if you want to retry using the same server/another mirror or stop the installation. If necessary, retry some times with different options, starting with the default one.
  • for compiling, Fink Commander can ask you to change some options of the gcc-compiler. If so, just follow the instructions by copy and pasting the command you have to execute into a Terminal window (Applications>Utilities>Terminal). This happened on my system (OS X 10.3), but may not be necessary on older systems. You’ll probably need administrator rights here too. If it’s still not working, add ‘sudo’ before the command and enter your password. This will normally make things work…
  • if you don’t understand what Fink Commander is asking you, just accept the default option—most times it‘s the best one…

Be aware that you’re actually compiling the whole Tex-system, so don’t think it’ll be a matter of minutes. On my PowerPC G4 1 Ghz (with 640MB Ram) it took a couple of hours to compile it. But I was heavily working during installation (web design, image editing, etc.), so if you leave your computer, it’ll probably run a bit faster.

If you do not like to use Fink and Fink Commander to install Latex, you can have a look at TeXShop/TeXLive-teTeX, which is an alternative option to obtain Latex for Mac OS X. I'm trying to get my installer/installation instructions working with TeXLive too, but I can’t really guarantee that it will work.

There are probably still many other ways to install Latex, but I only tested tetex/Fink myself and heard of people who have been able to run HieroTex with TeXShop/TeXLive-teTeX.

I cannot guarantee that the installer for HieroTex will work with other Latex-distributions too.

Installing HieroTex

Now, after installing the Tex-system, we can finally install the HieroTex Screenshot 4b: the HieroTex installerpackage. You can either choose to use the installer-application I’ve written (recommended), or to follow the instructions for a manual install (only recommended if the installer fails). Using the installer application is discussed below, for the manual installation guide see this page.

Update 16/10/2005: please follow the manual installation instructions, as the installer doesn’t do its job on many computers (it doesn't seem to work on Mac OS X 10.4).

  1. Then download InstallHieroTex.tar.bz2 (1.4MB, version 1.01 — 25/05/2005) and unpack the bzipped tar-file. This will give you an application called InstallHieroTex, which is the installer (screenshot 4b).
  2. Double-click the file to launch it. You’ll need administrator rights to do so, and you’ll be prompted for your password. After an introductory message and an option to choose which Latex-distribution you have, the installation starts. Then, there will appear some message windows whit further options (screenshot 5b).
  3. In the first window, you can choose either to install HieroTex or to uninstall a previous installation. Choose one of the options. Then you can install/uninstall HieroTex (the base package), HieroType (the high-resolution Postscript fonts) and htx2tex (a shell script which makes using HieroTex a lot easier). If you’ve installed at least HieroTex, you can test if it’s working… (see below). If HieroTex is not working, you’d better check out the manual installation instructions and try it again that way.

Your first hieroglyphs

Screenshot 6: the testfile in TextEdit (click to enlarge)Now it’s time for testing!

  1. Open TextEdit and create a new text file without any layout options (hit ‘apple+shift+t’ before beginning to type). Now type (or copy) the following text (screenshot 6):
  2. Save the file as ‘test.htx’ on your Desktop (or something you like better, but be sure to make it end in .htx!)
  3. Go back to your terminal window (or open a new one if you already closed it) and type the following commands (using bash just copy and paste them all at one as described above):
    cd ~/Desktop
    sesh < test.htx > test.tex
    latex test.tex
    dvipdf test.dvi
    open test.pdf
  4. This will now bring you something like you see in screenshot 7 (I've zoomed a bit so you can see the signs better).

Testing the high-resolution Postscript fonts

Now, if you look at the pdf-file you’ve just generated at high zoom levels (800% and up), you’ll see that the hieroglyphic font is actually a bitmap font (with ragged lines, not smooth). For high quality output (e.g. on laser printers), you’d better use the Postscript fonts (which are vector-fonts, so they produce very sharp and smooth lines). If you’ve installed HieroType, you can test if the fonts work this way:

  1. Re-edit your .htx-file so it begins with (only the first two lines need to be changed):
  2. …and save it as ‘test2.htx‘. Then run the following commands in a terminal window:
    cd ~/Desktop
    sesh < test2.htx > test2.tex
    pdflatex test2.tex
    open test2.pdf
  3. This will give the same result as in the preceding example, except the document now uses the vector-fonts instead of the bitmap-fonts. Just open the two different files, zoom a bit in and see the difference… (screenshot 7b)

If something doesn’t work in the above explanation, you can check out the troubleshooting-page: I’ve included some possible errors you might encounter and how to solve them. If you still cannot solve your problem, you can of always contact me and I’ll try to help you.

Now since processing the .htx-files is not very easy this way (you always need to enter 3 or 4 commands after each other), I’ve created the shell script htx2tex which makes things a lot easier. Read on to part two (How to use HieroTex on Mac OS X), if you would like to know more about actually using HieroTex in a more sophisticated way…

©2006 F. Vervloesem.
The author of this page claims no rights on the HieroTex-package, which is © S. Rosmorduc.
Please go to his website for any further information on HieroTex.