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Alternate Installation Procedures

MacTeX installs TeX Live in /usr/local/texlive, a location requiring root access. Some users do not have access to this location. They can still obtain TeX Live by using the TeX Live Install Script, which can install in any location. Details are provided below:

The TeX Live Install Script can be obtained at www.tug.org/texlive/acquire-netinstall.html. The script is a small file which is run from Terminal. It asks a series of questions, and then downloads and installs TeX Live piece by piece over the internet. Follow the suggestions below if you want your installation to behave like MacTeX's install of TeX Live.
  1. Refuse an offer to import settings from a prior installation.
  2. Leave most settings alone; the defaults work well.
  3. In the "directory" section install in your home directory by setting the install directory to ~/texlive/2017. Or choose another spot if you prefer. Locations with spaces in their names will cause endless problems later on.
  4. Adopt the MacTeX convention of setting TEXMFVAR to ~/Library/texlive/2017/texmf-var
  5. Adopt the MacTeX convention of setting TEXMFCONFIG to ~/Library/texlive/2017/texmf-config
  6. Adopt the MacTeX convention of setting TEXMFHOME to ~/Library/texmf
  7. In the options section, select letter size instead of A4 size if appropriate.
  8. Notice that the installation "scheme" section allows installations which use less hard disk space. MacTeX installs everything, scheme-full. Basic TeX installs scheme-small. We recommend scheme-full.
If you install with this script, you must obtain a GUI front end on your own. All of the GUI applications we install work fine with TeX Live installed in the home directory. For links to obtain them, go to Smaller Downloads.

You may need Ghostscript, which can be obtained on the Smaller Downloads page.

Almost all GUI programs for the Mac are configured to find the TeX binaries in /Library/TeX/texbin or the older and now obsolete /usr/texbin. These items are symbolic links to the directory holding the command line programs which run TeX Live. The main disadvantage of installing with the TeX Live script is that you must reconfigure GUI applications on your own, and also revise the PATH for your shell. If these tasks are Greek to you, don't use the install script!

The path to your binary directory is the installation location concatenated with the name of the binary directory. If you install TeX Live in ~/texlive/2017, then the binaries are in ~/texlive/2017/bin/x86_64-darwin.