4TeX started of as a workbench for TeX under MS-DOS. Making a workbench for TeX, all its friends and many other useful programs, the 4TeX team decided to make the 4TeX systems as open as possible. This means that people could change the workbench, update the used files/programs and add new stuff whenever the user felt it necessary (or when bugs had to be resolved). These conditions resulted in the decision to write 4TeX with the 4DOS batch programming language. Since 1991, the 4TeX workbench has been enthusiastically used by people who needed a tool for writing letters, articles, reports, and books...

Windows 95/98/NT gradually took over MS-DOS and many people asked for a Windows version of 4TeX. In December 1997 the 4TeX team decided to (re)write a 4TeX for Windows that would have the same functionality as the MS-DOS version. 4TeX for Windows should also be an open system, in a sense that users should be able to add utilities and make changes to get the system they prefer. 4TeX for Windows has all of this and even some nice extras, such as the ability to "speak" in several different languages.

4TeX was developed in Borland Delphi 4.0 as a fully 32-bit program. Nevertheless, 4TeX still uses the advanced command interpreter 4DOS for some of its tasks (4DOS.COM on Windows 95/98; 4NT.EXE on WIndows NT). There are two reasons for this:

  1. Some tasks require run-time settings and/or more or less intelligent batch files to run. The standard command interpreter (COMMAND.COM or CMD.EXE) are just too dumb for that.
  2. When creating an open system, the user should be able to change and add programs. This isn't fully possible within the Delphi part of 4TeX (you need a lot of programming knowledge and the complete commercial Delphi environment). Using 4DOS still offers Windows users the same possibilities as with the (old) MS-DOS version. 4DOS comes with a complete help menu and digging through this and looking at the examples 4TeX supplies, you can learn to do advanced programming within 4DOS.
This online help on 4TeX contains a detailed description of the 4TeX workbench. You can read this file completely or just use it whenever you feel you need additional information on what 4TeX is doing.

If you need support or help please contact:

Note that if you click on the "Help" button (see the Main menu) you can press the "Debug" button. 4TeX will open a debug window with all the information you should provide to the 4TeX support team.

There is also a 4TeX mailing list. You can subscribe by sending the following message to

   subscribe 4tex Foo Bar

where "Foo Bar" is your real name. Note that you can only send mail to the mailing list after you have subscribe. This protects the subscribers from annoying advertising ("spam").

Updates and bug fixes will be available through anonymous ftp from

Note that 4TeX is freeware. In the TeX world it is quite common that not only software is for free, but also advice and support from fellow TeX users. Therefore all around the world TeX user groups were founded. If you are interested in TeX, we recommend that you join a TeX users group. TeX is great, but it can only evolve if people like you contribute to the TeX community.

Enjoy TeX and 4TeX...

Wietse Dol & Erik Frambach
November 1998