[texhax] Character bounding boxes

Ranjith Unnikrishnan roninlord at gmail.com
Wed Sep 24 02:18:17 CEST 2008

Hi all,

I have a slightly unconventional need for latex that I'm hoping you latex
wizards out there can help me with.

The basic problem I'm trying to solve is:
Given some input plain text, create (i) an image that renders that text and
also (ii) output a file that records each printed character from the input
text and the corresponding bounding box coordinates of that character in the

The first goal of creating an image from the text is the easy part, and in
fact I dont really need latex to do it. The second goal is very unclear.
However, given latex's outstanding ability wrt text layout, and the fact
that it can also handle things like equations etc. I imagine that this
layout information is computed and stored somewhere along the way, perhaps
even implicitly within the dvi file. (And maybe this is preserved in ps/pdf
files generated from that point on).

In short, do you know of a way to extract the bounding box coordinates of
the characters in the output dvi or via some other way that utilizes latex?

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