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** The Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) **


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INDEX
[ click on the Q# to jump to the question & answer ]

NOTE:
MacTeX requires Mac OS X 10.5 and above.


MacTeX Q&A : getting or installing MacTeX

QM.01: Trouble opening the .pkg file or completing the installation process.
QM.02: No need to uninstall previous TeX distribution
QM.03: When trying to typeset, my front end puts up a dialog claiming that it cannot find tex (or pdfLaTeX, or XeTeX)
QM.04: Fink and MacPort Questions
QM.05: Where to put personal additions in the texmf tree
QM.06: Why can't the latest MacTeX find my local BibTeX (.bst, .bib) files
QM.07: Fonts in my TeX documents are wrong --- the Font Cache Bug.
QM.08: Does MacTeX-2013 work on Lion and Mountain Lion?

TeXShop Questions
QT.01: Typesetting in TeXShop gives an error message related to (/usr/texbin)
QT.02: TeXShop refuses to start, or behaves strangely
QT.03: Damaged Macros Folder




MacTeX Q&A

Jump up to the topJump down to the beginning of the QM.02
QM.01: I am having trouble opening the .pkg file or completing the installation process. How can I get MacTeX installed?

AM.01:

One exception occurs if you are running system OS X 10.4 or earlier. Note that MacTeX-2013 will not run on these systems.

Another common problem is that users obtain a corrupted MacTeX.pkg after downloading the large file. There is an easy way to check that your download was successful. Run Apple's Terminal application in /Applications/Utilities. After the prompt, type the command

openssl md5

and a space, and then drag and drop the file MacTeX.pkg to the Terminal window to complete the command. Push Return. The Mac will compute an "md5 checksum". This sum should be eb637f26de9246623061d4bf64256e1e .

Users downloading with Google Chrome and possibly other browsers report defective downloads. We strongly recommend downloading with Safari. Users with problems also report success after downloading via the torrent network.

Defective downloads are essentially never due to a bad file on the server because we test after uploading new versions. But users with download problems sometimes succeed after trying an alternate CTAN site. To do this, check on one of the links in the mirror page.

If you are at an institution with a large body of TeX users, a support person could put MacTeX-2013 on the DVD and loan you the DVD.

A final solution, if all else fails, is to go to http://www.tug.org/mactex/morepackages.html and download BasicTeX; this distribution is quite complete and serviceable and the smaller download may cause fewer problems. You will also need a front end like TeXShop or TeXworks or those included in MacTeXtras.


Jump up to the beginning of the QM.01Jump down to the beginning of the QM.03
QM.02: Do I need to uninstall my previous TeX distribution before installing MacTeX?

AM.02: No. The TeX Live in MacTeX installs in a new location, /usr/local/texlive/2013, and does not overwrite the old distribution. Consult the documentation for your older distribution to uninstall it, if you want to save space.

Jump up to the beginning of the QM.02Jump down to the beginning of the QM.04
QM.03: When trying to typeset, my front end puts up a dialog claiming that it cannot find tex (or pdfLaTeX, or XeTeX)

AM.03: Some users have installed software which incorrectly set the permissions on /usr/local. To see if you have this problem, open Terminal in /Applications/Utilities. Type

ls -l /usr

and push RETURN (note that "-l" is a small el, not a number). Terminal will print a list of folders. Look at the entry named "local". The permissions at the start of this line should be

drwxr-xr-x

If instead they are "drwx------" then carefully type the following line in Terminal:

sudo chmod 755 /usr/local

You will be asked to supply your Login password.

Jump up to the beginning of the QM.02Jump down to the beginning of the QM.05
QM.04: Fink (or MacPorts) is installed on my computer. After installing MacTeX,
(a) pdfTeX and TeX crash with error messages referring to broken libraries in /sw/... or /opt/...
(b) the versions of pdftex and tex in Fink or MacPorts run instead of the versions in TeX Live.
(c) pdftex runs erratically.

AM.04abc: MacTeX installs a symbolic link to the TeX Live binaries named /usr/texbin. Calling /usr/texbin/pdftex will reach the pdftex in TeX Live. Once this version runs, it will not be confused by the presence of Fink or MacPorts and will use the correct libraries, style files, fonts, and utilities in TeX Live.

The GUI programs shipped with MacTeX understand this symbolic link and automatically call /usr/texbin/pdftex. But if you call pdftex from the Terminal or another application, you may encounter the problem. The solution is simple. Find your shell startup script. That script should contain a command modifying PATH so /sw (or /opt) comes first. After this command, add a line to the script prepending /usr/texbin to the beginning of your PATH.


Jump up to the beginning of the QM.04Jump down to the beginning of the QM.06
QM.05 : Where do I put my personal additions to the texmf tree?

AM.05: They go in
~/Library/texmf
and various subdirectories structured according to the standard TeX conventions. Here ~/Library is the Library folder in your home directory. You may have to create the texmf folder, and any subfolders of it mentioned below. For instance, TeX will find any file in
~/Library/texmf/tex
or a subfolder of this folder, and LaTeX will find any file in
~/Library/texmf/tex/latex
or a subfolder of this folder. It is not necessary to run texhash when adding files to this local tree.

On Lion and Mountain Lion, the ~/Library folder is hidden. To open it, use the Finder's Go menu and hold down the Option key to reveal an extra item in the menu.


Jump up to the beginning of the QM.05
Jump down to the beginning of the QM.07
QM.06 : Why can't the latest MacTeX find my local BibTeX files? Earlier versions of MacTeX worked correctly.

AM.06 : TeX Live is slightly pickier about placement of these files. ".bib" files go in
~/Library/texmf/bibtex/bib
or subfolders of this directory, and ".bst" files go in
~/Library/texmf/bibtex/bst
or subfolders of this directory.

Jump up to the beginning of the QM.06Jump down to the beginning of the QM.08
QM.07: I installed MacTeX and now all of the fonts in my TeX documents are wrong. I checked this in Preview, TeXShop, LaTeXiT, TeXniscope, and other programs. They all display bad fonts, so I must have messed up the installation. Maybe it is because I used custom install and installed the Latin Modern and TeX Gyre fonts.

AM.07: The problem (known as the "font cache bug" in Mac OS X) was fixed in MacTeX-2009 and all later distributions are fine.

Jump up to the beginning of the QM.07Jump down to the beginning of the QT.01
QM.08 : Does MacTeX-2013 work on Lion and Mountain Lion?

AM.08 :

Yes, it has been extensively tested on both systems. Mountain Lion requires that install packages be signed. All MacTeX install packages are signed.





TeXShop Questions

Jump up to the beginning of the QM.08Jump down to the beginning of the QT.02
QT.01: Typesetting in TeXShop gives an error message:
"Can't find required tool. /usr/local/teTeX/bin/apple-powerpc-darwin-current does not exist. Perhaps TeX Live was not installed or was removed ..."

AT.01: This error means that TeXShop could not find a TeX distribution. Usually users who see it downloaded TeXShop, but forgot to download TeX itself. The solution is to install TeXLive-2013. If you installed with MacTeX, you will not see this error.

Jump up to the beginning of the QT.01Jump down to the beginning of the QT.03
QT.02: TeXShop refuses to start, or behaves strangely. Or, for example, you get the message:
           "/usr/texbin/altpdflatex does not exist.
           Perhaps TeX Live was not installed or was removed during a system upgrade."

AT.02: There may be a damaged TeXShop preferences file. Quit TeXShop, move the file
~/Library/Preferences/TeXShop.plist
to your desktop, and restart. If this fixes the problem, reset your preferences as desired. If not, put the old plist file back to restore your old preferences.

Make sure you are using the latest version of TeXShop

About altpdftex...


Jump up to the beginning of the QT.02Jump down to the bottom
QT.03: TeXShop complains of a damaged Macros file when it starts.

AT.03: There may be a damaged Macros folder in TeXShop's configuration files. Quit TeXShop, move the Macros folder
~/Library/TeXShop/Macros
to the desktop, and restart TeXShop. It will create a new Macros folder with a working Macros file.

Jump up to the beginning of the QT.03Jump up top

For more information about other frequently asked questions please

If you still have problems with the MacTeX Installer, you may contact us via the mactex-support webpage.