TeX Live - Quick install for Unix

If you don't want to bother reading the full install documentation and just want to install everything in TeX Live, on a Unix-like system, a minimal recipe follows.

For more details on the commands given here, just keep scrolling down this page.

tl;dr: Unix(ish)

Non-interactive default installation on anything but Windows:

  1. cd /tmp # working directory of your choice
  2. Download: wget https://mirror.ctan.org/systems/texlive/tlnet/install-tl-unx.tar.gz
               or: curl -L -o install-tl-unx.tar.gz https://mirror.ctan.org/systems/texlive/tlnet/install-tl-unx.tar.gz

    (or via whatever other method you like)
  3. zcat < install-tl-unx.tar.gz | tar xf -
  4. cd install-tl-*
  5. perl ./install-tl --no-interaction # as root or with writable destination
  6. Finally, prepend /usr/local/texlive/YYYY/bin/PLATFORM to your PATH,
    e.g., /usr/local/texlive/2024/bin/x86_64-linux

Changing defaults:

tl;dr: Mac

The Unix instructions work. If you prefer a native Mac installer, use MacTeX instead.

tl;dr: Windows

  1. Download https://mirror.ctan.org/systems/texlive/tlnet/install-tl-windows.exe
  2. Execute the newly-downloaded install-tl-windows.exe.
  3. Change settings as desired and install.
  4. Additional Windows-specific info.

The rest of this page explains the above in more detail.

Pre-install: download, cleanup

You do not need to remove an installation of a previous release, or any system-provided TeX; multiple releases of TL can coexist on the same system without conflict.

A separate page describes various ways to acquire the software. It boils down to either getting the DVD from a TeX user group (ideally by becoming a member), or downloading in various ways. Except on Windows, your system must provide a standard Perl installation with the usual core modules. (For Windows, TeX Live comes with its own Perl.)

For regular installations via download, we highly recommend installing the LWP Perl package if you don't have it.

If you're re-installing after a previous attempt, be sure to completely remove your failed installation. By default, this would be in these two directories (on Unix-like systems):

rm -rf /usr/local/texlive/2024
rm -rf ~/.texlive2024

Running the installer

You do not need to be root (administrator on Windows) to install, use, or manage TeX Live. Indeed, we recommend installing it as a normal user, except on macOS, where it's conventional to install as administrator. (Information about shared installations.) As always, you need to have permission to write into the destination directory, but TeX Live itself does not care if you are root or not.

Once you have the TeX Live distribution, run the install-tl script to install (on Windows, install-tl-windows), like this:

cd /your/unpacked/directory
perl install-tl
[... messages omitted ...]
Enter command: i
[... when done, see below for post-install ...]

To change the installation directories or other options, read the prompts and instructions. The default is to install into parallel directories named by the release year, so that any given release can be run independently, merely by adjusting the search path.

Interfaces to the installer: text, GUI, batch

The installer supports text, graphical, and batch interfaces:

For information on all of the installer options, run install-tl --help, or see the install-tl documentation page.

Choosing a download host

It can take an hour or more to copy all the files, depending on the installation method. If you are downloading over the network, by default a nearby CTAN mirror is automatically chosen. If you have problems, we recommend choosing a specific mirror and then run install-tl --location https://mirror.example.org/ctan/path/systems/texlive/tlnet instead of relying on the automatic redirection.

Post-install: setting PATH

After the installation finishes, you must add the directory of TeX Live binaries to your PATH—except on Windows, where the installer takes care of this. The installer shows the exact lines that should be added. As an example, for Bourne-compatible shells (e.g., in ~/.profile or ~/.bashrc):
Use the initialization file and syntax for your shell, your installation directory, and your binary platform name instead of x86_64-linux. After editing the init file, log out and log back in.

If you have multiple TeX installations on a given machine, you need to change the search path to switch between them—except on MacOSX.

Post-install: setting the default paper size

The default is to configure the programs for the A4 paper size. To make the default be 8.5x11 letter-size paper, you can use the ‘o’ menu option before i(nstalling), or run tlmgr paper letter after installation (and after setting your PATH).


After a successful installation, please try processing simple test documents, such as latex small2e.

If you're looking for a front-end with which to edit files: TeX Live installs TeXworks on Windows, and MacTeX installs TeXShop. A plethora of dedicated TeX editors are also available. In addition, any plain text editor will work.

Getting updates

If you want to update packages from CTAN after installation, see these examples of using tlmgr. This is not required, or even necessarily recommended; it's up to you to decide if it makes sense to get continuing updates in your particular situation.

Typically the main binaries are not updated in TeX Live between major releases. If you want to get updates for LuaTeX and other packages and programs that aren't officially released yet, they may be available in the TLContrib repository, or you may need to compile the sources yourself.

Reporting problems

Please see the known issues page for bug reporting info. And please check the documentation.

$Date: 2024/03/29 22:32:33 $; TeX Live;
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