Your support for our advertisers helps cover the cost of hosting, research, and maintenance of this document

Formatting Information — An introduction to typesetting with LATEX

Appendix A: Installation

Section 1: Installing the software

A.1.1 Unix and GNU/Linux

Users of modern GNU/Linux systems don’t even need the TEX Collection DVD, as TEX installation packages are available online, built into the package manager for your system.

Figure A.1: Installing TEX Live from Synaptic, a Ubuntu package manager


If your system has a graphical package manager (eg Ubuntu’s Synaptic or Software Center, see Figure A.1), run it and install texlive-full, ghostscript, gv, okular, biber, kile (or texstudio or emacs), and jabref. Some of them may already be installed on your system. Go and have a cup of coffee while they automatically install all the necessary components.

The new Ubuntu Software Centre only allows one package to be installed at a time, so you may prefer to use a typed command in a console window (other Linux users may prefer this approach anyway). The command name varies from distribution to distribution; but two common ones are yum and apt-get:

sudo apt-get install texlive-full biber ghostscript gv \
  okular kile texstudio emacs jabref

sudo yum install texlive-full biber ghostscript gv \
  okular kile texstudio emacs jabref

Unfortunately, the Okular and Evince PDF/DVI viewers have cumbersome interfaces: Okular prematurely replaced two older and much better-designed viewers, kdvi and kpdf; but you could install qpdfview instead, which is faster and lighter.

Unix and GNU/Linux installers

I strongly recommend this method for all GNU/Linux users. You should only install from the TEX Collection DVD if you are using an older, hand-built, or commercial Unix system which has no package manager. Installing for a multi-user system from the TEX Collection DVD for Unix requires root privileges and a good understanding of Unix systems management, and is beyond the scope of this book.

There is a drawback: the Linux repository versions of TEX can be up to a year out of date, because of the volunteer effort required to put them together. For new users this should not be a concern, as most updates do not seriously affect core facilities. If there are very recently-updated packages you badly need, you can install them separately, using the instructions in § 3.2.

If you do decide to switch to the TEX Live DVD, make sure you completely uninstall the texlive-full package first, otherwise your system will get hopelessly confused. This will leave your system in a conflicted state, because it will try to uninstall all the packages above that depend on TEX. The solution is a ‘shim’ Debian package that pretends that the Debian distribution of TEX Live is still installed, while actually using the DVD-installed version.

After installation, run texconfig (see Figure A.2) in a terminal window to adjust your local settings. This is a console utility, so type texconfig just to adjust your own personal settings, or sudo texconfig to adjust them system-wide (for all users). In the utility, use the arrow keys to go up and down the options, and the TAB key to jump to (and switch between) the OK, Cancel, and other ‘buttons’ at the foot of the screen. The spacebar or the Enter key selects a menu item or button. Most settings are correct as installed, but you might want to change one of the following:

  • the first option, DEST, lets you specify whether you normally want to print straight onto the printer, or ‘print’ into a file (to attach to email or upload somewhere)

  • the default paper size (the PAPER option), if the installed size is not your most common one (A4 or Letter)

  • the printer resolution (the MODE option), where you can adjust your printer settings; this allows you to fine-tune it for, say, a typesetter that you want to send output to instead of your own printer;

  • in the DVIPS option you can adjust your printer OFFSET (left and top margins), which is useful for older, less accurate printers.

You may also need the REHASH option later on. It is used to update TEX’s fast-find database (see the last step ‘Shared systems and MIKTEX: update your index’) after adding new or updated packages.

Figure A.2: Running the post-installation program texconfig


If your printer is a conventional home or office ink-jet or laser printer, and is not shown, the LaserJet5 setting (600dpi) is probably a good bet. While still in the utility, you can test the margin settings in another window by running the testpage.tex document through LATEX (by typing latex testpage and responding to the questions about paper size and double-sided printing). Print the resulting .dvi file with the command dvips -f testpage | lpr and adjust the margins in texconfig if necessary. These adjustments are not needed with PDF output.

A.1.2 Apple Mac OS X

Double-click the MacTeX-yyyy-DVD.mpkg package in the mactex folder of the TEX Collection DVD (replace the yyyy with the year of your distribution as shown on the DVD sleeve). Install the package in the normal Mac way by dragging the package icon onto the hard disk icon.

When it’s finished, open your Applications folder in the Finder and go to the TEX subfolder and drag TEXshop out onto your Dock. TEXshop is the editor front-end to MacTEX which you use for writing your documents.

If you are going to use Adobe Acrobat Reader instead of Preview, make sure you clear the font cache and set the resolution to the system default (112dpi) otherwise you may get very weird displays.

If you are using the El Capitan version of the operating system, it is possible that TEXshop will not recognise the folder where MacTEX installed the system. If you get an error claiming pdflatex does not exist in /usr/texbin, then use the TEXshop PreferencesEngine menu to change the first Path Setting to /Library/TeX/texbin.

A.1.3 Microsoft Windows

If your system has auto-run enabled, inserting the TEX Collection DVD should start the setup program automatically (see Figure A.3). Click on the Open proTeXt button to start.

Figure A.3: The TEX Collection installation program


If you have auto-run turned off, insert the DVD, go to the protext folder, and double-click on the Setup.exe program as shown in Figure A.4.

Figure A.4: The ProTEXt setup program on the TEX Collection DVD


If you have downloaded the ProTEXt installation from the TEX Users Group web site, unzip it into a temporary folder and run the Setup.exe program from there (see Figure A.5).

Figure A.5: The ProTEXt setup program in the unzipped download folder

  1. Make sure you have Adobe Acrobat Reader or a similar PDF reader installed;

  2. In the ProTEXt setup window, select your language and click on the MiKTEX Install button (see Figure A.6)

    Figure A.6: Installation of ProTEXt

  3. Click in the box to accept the MiKTEX licence and click Next to continue (Figure A.7)

    Figure A.7: Accepting the MiKTEX licence

  4. Make sure the Complete MiKTEX option is selected and click Next to continue (Figure A.8)

    Figure A.8: Selecting the complete installation

  5. Choose a private installation or one that everyone who uses your computer can use, and click Next to continue (Figure A.9)

    Figure A.9: Private or shared use

  6. Accept the installation folder that MikTEX suggests (unless you are an expert or have a special disk setup) and click Next to continue (Figure A.10)

    Figure A.10: The MiKTEX installation folder

  7. In the Options screen (Figure A.11), select your paper size (A4 or US Letter), and whether or not you want extra packages to be downloaded and installed automatically (Yes or No) — on a laptop where a network connection is not always present, choose ‘Ask first’ instead, then click Next to continue

    Figure A.11: Paper size and package installation options

  8. Finally, accept the settings as shown in Figure A.12 (or change them by clicking Back), and then click Start to start the installation process

    Figure A.12: Review your installation settings

  9. During installation, MiKTEX will list the files it is installing and show a progress bar (Figure A.13)

    Figure A.13: MiKTEX installing

  10. When it is all done, click Finish (Figure A.14)

    Figure A.14: Finishing the installation


Two more things to do: install the TEXStudio editor, and add a personal TEX folder for extra downloads such as additional fonts.

  1. Go back to the ProTEXt setup window and click on the TEXStudio Install button. The TEXStudio installation program will start and ask you to select the language to use during installation and click OK to continue (Figure A.15)

    Figure A.15: Selecting the language to use during TEXMakerX installation

  2. Click Next in the following screen to continue (Figure A.16)

    Figure A.16: The TEXMakerX installation introductory screen

  3. Accept the installation folder that TEXMakerX suggests (unless you are an expert or have a special disk setup) and click Next to continue (Figure A.17)

    Figure A.17: The TEXMakerX installation folder

  4. Also accept the suggested location for the TEXMakerX shortcut and click Next to continue (Figure A.18)

    Figure A.18: The TEXMakerX shortcut

  5. Finally, accept the settings as shown in Figure A.19 (or change them by clicking Back), and then click Install to start the installation process

    Figure A.19:

  6. When it is all done, click Finish (Figure A.20)

    Figure A.20: