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@dircategory TeX @direntry * TeX Directories: (tds). A directory structure for TeX files.

Copyright (C) 1994, 95, 96, 97, 98 TeX Users Group.

Permission to use, copy, and distribute this document without modification for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted, provided that this notice appears in all copies. It is provided "as is" without expressed or implied warranty.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this document under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that the modifications are clearly marked and the document is not represented as the official one.

This document is available on any CTAN host (Appendix section Related references has a complete reference). Please send questions or suggestions by email to @email{tds@tug.org} or by postal mail to Karl Berry, 135 Center Hill Road, Plymouth, MA 02360, USA. We welcome all comments.


TeX is a powerful, flexible typesetting system used by thousands of people around the world. It is extremely portable and runs on virtually all operating systems. One unfortunate side effect of TeX's flexibility, however, is that there has been no single "right" way to install it. This has resulted in many sites having different installed arrangements.

The primary purpose of this document is to describe a standard TeX Directory Structure (TDS): a directory hierarchy for macros, fonts, and the other implementation-independent TeX system files. As a matter of practicality, this document also suggests ways to incorporate the rest of the TeX files into a single structure. The TDS has been designed to work on all modern systems. In particular, the Technical Working Group (TWG) believes it is usable under MacOS, MS-DOS, OS/2, Unix, VMS, and Windows NT. We hope that administrators and developers of both free and commercial TeX implementations will adopt this standard.

This document is intended both for the TeX system administrator at a site and for people preparing TeX distributions--everything from a complete runnable system to a single macro or style file. It may also help TeX users find their way around systems organized this way. It is not a tutorial: we necessarily assume knowledge of the many parts of a working TeX system. If you are unfamiliar with any of the programs or file formats we refer to, consult the references in Appendix section Related references.

The role of the TDS

The role of the TDS is to stabilize the organization of TeX-related software packages that are installed and in use, possibly on multiple platforms simultaneously.

At first glance, it may seem that the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN) archives fulfill at least part of this role, but this is not the case. The role of CTAN is to simplify archiving and distribution, not installation and use.

In fact, the roles of the TDS and CTAN are frequently in conflict, as you will see elsewhere in this document. For distribution, many different types of files must be combined into a single unit; for use, it is traditional to segregate files (even similar files) from a single package into separate, occasionally distant, directories.


In this document, `/' is used to separate filename components; for example, `texmf/fonts'. This is the Unix convention but the ideas are in no way Unix-specific.

In this document, "TeX" generally means the TeX system, including METAFONT, DVI drivers, utilities, etc., not just the TeX program itself.

The word "package" in this document has its usual meaning: a set of related files distributed, installed, and maintained as a unit. This is not a LaTeX2e package, which is a style file supplementing a document class.

We use the following typographic conventions:

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