Starting Points

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This page should help most users find what they need quickly. Alternative routes include the Search function and the list of Categories.


Starting Points for Absolute Beginners, the Uninitiated and Novices

Although these sections will offer even experienced users useful information, they are particularly designed with newcomers in mind.

These are the places to begin if you know little about TeX but are curious; you are considering installing TeX but don't know where to start; or you want to write your first TeX document.

Getting Started

Start with the Getting Started page if you are using Mac OS X.

This page provides two sections. The first section, Software, describes the software you need to use TeX on Mac OS X. The second section, Advice, is a list of links to advice for those starting to use TeX for the first time.

Mac OS 9

The content of this wiki is primarily about MacOS X. For information on using TeX on the older classic Mac OS, see the TeX on MacOS 9 pages.

TeX on Windows

Start with the TeX on Windows page if you are using Windows.

Starting Points for Intermediate and Experienced Users, Initiates and High Priests

Doing More with TeX

These sections will generally be most useful if you know a little bit about TeX already. For example, you have access to a working installation of TeX, you know how to typeset a simple TeX or LaTeX document and you have some sense of what you could do with TeX if only you knew how. These sections should start you on the path to figuring out the how.

Bibliographies, Glossaries and Indexes

This page covers the production and inclusion of bibliographies, glossaries and indexes in TeX documents, the management of associated databases and strategies for integrating the available tools into work flows which include non-TeX applications.


The converters on this page can be used to automate, or partially automate, the conversion of a document in a TeX format such as LaTeX, TeX or ConTeXt into a document in a non-TeX format such as HTML, ODF or Word, or the conversion of a document in a non-TeX format into one in TeX format.


If you want to use non-default fonts with TeX, to install additional font packages or to set-up and install arbitrary fonts for use with TeX, this is the place to start. You can find samples of many standard TeX fonts with links to information about how to use them in your documents. Many of these fonts may already be installed and only require a line or two to be added to your document. You can also find samples of additional fonts and information about downloading and installing the TeX-ready packages available. Finally, if you have some font that you simply have to use with TeX, you can find details of the obstacles you are likely to encounter and strategies for overcoming them.


This page covers the use of TeX and friends to produce graphics of various kinds, as well as the inclusion of arbitrary graphics files in TeX documents.


Tools and advice for mathematicians.


This page describes methods and software for utilising various features of the Portable Document Format (PDF).


This page describes software useful to those preparing presentations in TeX and includes packages and programs helpful to those producing transparencies, slides, PDFs suitable for use with LCD projectors etc.

TeX Variants

TeX variants are actually the combination of two items: an engine (the typesetting machine) and a format (the collection of macros used to describe the text). From an end-user's perspective, the distinction between engines and formats is irrelevant. What matters is what macros are to be used, what output will be produced.

TeX and the World Wide Web

This page describes software designed to facilitate the use of TeX to produce material for the world wide web.


Electronic and paper documentation; inspiration, tips and tricks; tutorials and presentations. This is the place to look for everything from general advice to papers covering specialised topics to good places to search for yet more documentation...

Choosing, Installing and Managing a TeX Installation

Those with limited experience of TeX should start with Getting Started rather than here. Many experienced users who are installing TeX or who are doing so on Mac OS X for the first time may also wish to begin there. Those who are sure they know what they are doing, however, may wish to skip directly to one of the following sections.

TeX Distributions

TeX distributions are software that can compile a TeX document and generate a dvi or pdf at bare minimum, without any additional software. Somewhere in them they have an actual TeX binary, even if it has to be called from the command line.

TeX Live Manager

TeX Live Manager (tlmgr) is a TeX Live utility first introduced in the 2008 release which allows users to update the software in between major (typically annual) releases.

If you are using a version of TeX Live from 2008 or later, this page explains how to update your installation between major releases, remove unwanted packages, install new ones and troubleshoot common update issues. Leopard users will also find information about TeX Live Utility, a native front end for TeX Live Manager.

Enhancing the TeX Experience

Wish your front end worked differently? Wish you could spell-check a TeX document without getting constant complaints about "\emph" not being English? Need to know the best way to create LaTeX equations you can use in KeyNote? The sections below describe software which will allow you to do all this and more.

Note that if you have a very specific query, you may find a solution faster by using the Search.


Editors are simply that. They can edit raw text, and have some benefit for editing TeX over TextEdit (at least syntax highlighting).

TeX Extras

Miscellaneous TeX-specific tools. They are generally small tools which facilitate work flow integration or communication. Examples include tools which automate document processing and Spotlight importers. Unlike TeX Helpers, TeX Extras are designed primarily or exclusively for use with TeX. Unlike TeX-specific tools and packages described on other pages, TeX Extras have no more obvious home on the Wiki even though they clearly deserve a home here somewhere.

Front Ends

A Front End is defined as a rather complete interface for working with TeX. It has an integrated editor and viewer. Many front ends can also be used as an editor, with a separate viewer, or a viewer, with a separate editor.

TeX Helpers

This page lists software which, while not primarily or solely designed for use with TeX, complements it. Some of the software, such as asymptote, includes a TeX interface or package of some kind; some of it, such as gnuplot, is used by TeX packages; and some of it, such as pdfcrop, offers functionality which may be essential to a TeX-centric workflow.

Multiple Documents: Comparing, Merging and Versioning

This page lists software which can be used to compare different versions of a document and merge revisions. It also includes version control software. Using such software can make the process of comparing and merging different versions of documents much easier. This makes it especially useful when several authors are working simultaneously on a project, but version management can also offer significant benefits to authors working alone.


Applications that are primarily for viewing the results of LaTeX or related output.

Wiki-Centric Starting Points

These sections are the place to start if you want to know something about this wiki rather than its topic. Anybody thinking of editing the wiki should take a look here, as should anybody thinking of complaining about its current state!

Recent News

Nicholas Baine has been named Editor.--Joseph C. Slater 19:18, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

New chief editor sought starting June 16. Please send nominations to Slater

New technical support person sought, ASAP. Someone familiar with linux, mysql and can install wikimedia. Please send nominations to Slater

Pretest of TeX Live 2013 and MacTeX-2013 started. Victor Ivrii 08:24, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

TeX Live 2012 and MacTeX-2012 have been officially frozen. Victor Ivrii 08:54, 12 April 2013 (UTC) ...more News

Current Goals


Guidelines concerning edits to this wiki. All potential editors should read this before beginning work. This applies even to those who only plan to edit their personal user or talk page.

Potential editors who also develop TeX-related software should also read Developers.


General wiki editing help.

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