TeX Live - Quick install

If you don't want to read the basic install documentation and just want to install everything in TeX Live, on a Unix-like system, a minimal recipe follows. Special considerations for Windows are described separately. For MacOSX, we recommend installing MacTeX, which contains all of TeX Live (and a few Mac-specific additions). Cygwin users can follow the instructions for Unix-like systems, but make sure you have the prerequisites before beginning the installation.

Pre-install: download, cleanup

A separate page describes various ways to acquire the software. It boils down to getting the DVD from a TeX user group (ideally by becoming a member), or through various download methods. 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.)

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

rm -rf /usr/local/texlive/2010
rm -rf ~/.texlive2010

Running the installer

You do not need to be root (administrator on Windows) to install, use, or manage TeX Live. In fact, we recommend installing it as a normal user, except perhaps on MacOSX, where it's conventional to install as administrator. (Some information about shared installations.)

Once you have the software, run the install-tl script to install (comments are in italics):

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

To change the installation directories or other options, follow the prompts and instructions.

GUI installer

The installer supports both text and GUI modes:

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, it is good to choose a specific mirror and then run install-tl --location http://mirror.example.org/its/ctan/path/texlive/tlnet instead of relying on the automatic redirection.

Post-install: setting the 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. For example:
Use the syntax for your shell, your installation directory, and your binary platform name instead of i386-linux.

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

Setting the default paper size

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


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


If you want to update packages from CTAN after installation (this is not required, or even necessarily recommended), see these examples of using tlmgr.

Typically the main binaries are not updated in TeX Live between major releases. If you want to get new binaries for LuaTeX and perhaps other programs in rapid development, check out TLContrib.

Reporting problems

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

$Date: 2011/07/04 17:53:09 $; TeX Live;