MiKTeX FAQ (May 29, 2012)

Christian Schenk

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Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this manual under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one.

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Table of Contents

About this document
General
Installation
Getting Help
Basics
Maintenance
Packages
(La)TeX
Dvips
Yap
Troubleshooting

About this document

This is the official MiKTeX FAQ. It is available in the following formats:

  • formatted in HTML entirely on one web page

  • formatted in HTML with one web page per section

General

1. What is MiKTeX?
2. Is there a home page?
3. Which Windows version is required for running MiKTeX?
4. Am I allowed to redistribute MiKTeX?
1.

What is MiKTeX?

MiKTeX is a complete TeX system for Windows.

2.

Is there a home page?

Yes. The official project page is http://miktex.org.

3.

Which Windows version is required for running MiKTeX?

MiKTeX2.9 requires one of the following Windows operating systems:

  • Windows7

  • WindowsVista with Service Pack2 (all editions except Starter Edition)

  • WindowsXP with Service Pack3 (all editions except Starter Edition)

  • Windows Server2008R2

  • Windows Server2008 with Service Pack2

  • Windows Server2003R2

  • Windows Server2003 with Service Pack2

4.

Am I allowed to redistribute MiKTeX?

The MiKTeX distribution is a conglomerate of many software packages. To the best of my knowledge, all packages meet the requirements of the Debian Free Software Guidelines. This means that MiKTeX may be freely used, copied, modified, and redistributed.

Please visit this page, for more information

Installation

1. How do I download MiKTeX?
2. How do I install MiKTeX?
3. What is the “Basic MiKTeX” installer?
4. What is the MiKTeX Net Installer?
5. Is MiKTeX available on CD or DVD?
6. Is it possible to download MiKTeX without the wizard?
1.

How do I download MiKTeX?

It is recommended that you download the Basic MiKTeX Installer. This allows you set up a basic MiKTeX system (see Q:3).

Download the MiKTeX Net Installer, if you want to set up a complete MiKTeX system (see Q:4).

2.

How do I install MiKTeX?

You use one of the installers to set up a a MiKTeX system:

Basic MiKTeX Installer (basic-miktex-2.9.xxxx.exe)

The “Basic MiKTeX” installer can be used to set up a basic MiKTeX system.

MiKTeX Net Installer (setup-2.9.xxxx.exe)

The “MiKTeX Net Installer” can be used to set up a complete MiKTeX system.

For more information, read the section Installing MiKTeX in the MiKTeX manual.

3.

What is the “Basic MiKTeX” installer?

The “Basic MiKTeX Installer” sets up a basic MiKTeX system. Additional packages can be installed on-the-fly. This has the advantage of keeping a minimal MiKTeX system.

4.

What is the MiKTeX Net Installer?

This installer serves two purposes:

  1. It downloads all available package archive files to your computer.

  2. It installs MiKTeX.

5.

Is MiKTeX available on CD or DVD?

Yes, MiKTeX is available on DVD-R (see this page).

The DVD-R contains a live MiKTeX system, which makes it possible to run MiKTeX directly from the DVD-R. Alternatively, the DVD-R allows you to install MiKTeX on your hard-disk.

6.

Is it possible to download MiKTeX without the wizard?

You can use your favorite download tool to get the contents of the CTAN directory systems/win32/miktex.

Getting Help

1. How do I get support?
2. Is there a mailing list?
3. How can I join the mailing list?
4. How can I read old articles?
5. How can I leave the mailing list?
1.

How do I get support?

Please visit http://miktex.org/support, for an overview of available support options.

2.

Is there a mailing list?

Yes.

3.

How can I join the mailing list?

To join the list, direct your browser to the MiKTeX-Users Info Page and fill out the form.

You will receive instructions (via email) on how to use the mailing list.

4.

How can I read old articles?

To see the collection of prior postings to the MiKTeX-Users list, visit the MiKTeX-Users Archives.

5.

How can I leave the mailing list?

Visit the MiKTeX-Users Info Page and enter you subscription email address to change your subscription status.

Basics

1. I have installed MiKTeX. How do I use it?
2. Which program should I use to edit LaTeX documents?
1.

I have installed MiKTeX. How do I use it?

If you have never used TeX before: we recommend that, first of all, you work through a TeX/LaTeX tutorial. A good starting point is this page.

MiKTeX doesn't differ very much from any other TeX system you might have used before. Typesetting with MiKTeX involves these steps:

  1. Start TeXworks and edit your LaTeX document.

  2. Press Ctrl-T to create a typeset view of your document.

2.

Which program should I use to edit LaTeX documents?

The MiKTeX distribution includes TeXworks, a simple environment for editing TeX/LaTeX documents.

Maintenance

1. How do I update my MiKTeX system?
2. Which is the best directory to keep .sty files where MiKTeX can find them?
3. How do I add new languages to the LaTeX format file?
4. How do I refresh the file name database?
1.

How do I update my MiKTeX system?

You use MiKTeX Update Wizard (StartMiKTeXMiKTeX Update Wizard) to update installed packages. For more information, read the section Installing Updates in the MiKTeX manual.

2.

Which is the best directory to keep .sty files where MiKTeX can find them?

MiKTeX Package Manager takes care of the proper installation of well known LaTeX packages.

If (for some reason) you have to install a package by hand, then you should copy the input files into the directory tex\latex\misc relative to a registered root directory. For example:

  1. Create the root directory C:\Local TeX Files.

  2. Create the sub-directory tex\latex\misc and copy your input files (*.sty, *.cls) here.

  3. Register the root directory (C:\Local TeX Files) in MiKTeX Options.

For more information, read the section Integrating Local Additions in the MiKTeX manual.

3.

How do I add new languages to the LaTeX format file?

You use MiKTeX Options to add new languages. For more information, read the section Selecting Hyphenation Tables in the MiKTeX manual.

4.

How do I refresh the file name database?

If you have a command-prompt window open:

> initexmf --update-fndb

If you prefer to use the graphical user interface:

  1. Use the Start menu to start MiKTeX Options.

  2. Click Refresh FNDB.

Packages

1. How do I install package X?
2. Why is package X not MiKTeX package repository?
3. How can I find out which package the file x.y belongs to?
1.

How do I install package X?

If package X is a part of the MiKTeX package repository, then you install it with the help of MiKTeX Package Manager. See the section Working With the Package Manager in the MiKTeX manual.

For the impatient: try it with

mpm --verbose --install X

If the package turns out to be missing in the MiKTeX package repository, then you must install it manually. See also Q:2.

2.

Why is package X not MiKTeX package repository?

There are two possible reasons:

  1. It is a new package of which the MiKTeX maintainers are not aware of.

  2. The package's license doesn't meet the requirements of the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

3.

How can I find out which package the file x.y belongs to?

The search facility in MiKTeX Package Manager allows you to enter all or part of a file name. For example, enter colortbl.* to find out that colortbl.sty belongs to the package carlisle.

(La)TeX

1. Why does latex use pdfTeX (and not TeX)?
2. How can I change the output file name?
3. How can I change the output directory?
4. How do I insert source specials into the DVI file?
1.

Why does latex use pdfTeX (and not TeX)?

pdfTeX is now the default typesetting engine. The DVI output should be identical to that of TeX.

2.

How can I change the output file name?

You can use option --job-name to set the name of the output file.

For example, you would run

pdflatex --job-name=dog cat.tex

to create the PDF file dog.pdf instead of cat.pdf.

3.

How can I change the output directory?

You can use the option --output-directory to specify an alternative location for all output files.

For example, you would run

pdflatex --output-directory=C:\temp mydoc.tex

to deposit the output file (mydoc.pdf) in C:\temp\.

4.

How do I insert source specials into the DVI file?

You use the --src-specials option to enrich the DVI file with source file information (aka “source specials”).

Source specials enable the DVI previewer to synchronize with the text editor while you are editing the TeX source file.

For example, run the

latex --src mydoc.tex

to enrich DVI file mydoc.dvi with source file information, i.e., mydoc.dvi will contain references to mydoc.tex.

Dvips

1. How do I produce PostScript for distilling to PDF?
1.

How do I produce PostScript for distilling to PDF?

You use the option -Ppdf to produce PostScript optimized for distilling to PDF.

For example, the command

dvips -Ppdf mydoc.dvi

causes Dvips to use

  1. Type 1 fonts

  2. and an alternative rule drawing algorithm.

Yap

1. How can I navigate to a random page?
1.

How can I navigate to a random page?

You can type the page number followed by g to jump to a certain page. For example, typing the key sequence 220g will direct Yap to page 220.

Troubleshooting

1. I want to see what's going on backstage. Where does MiKTeX write the trace messages?
2. How do I use the DebugView window?
3. How do I set trace options?
1.

I want to see what's going on backstage. Where does MiKTeX write the trace messages?

MiKTeX programs log their actions into the DebugView window, if you specify suitable trace options.

2.

How do I use the DebugView window?

First of all, you will need the DebugView utilitt, which is a part of the Windows Sysinternals suite. To download. To download DebugView, visit the Windows Sysinternals page.

3.

How do I set trace options?

Set the environment variable MIKTEX_TRACE. The value must be a comma-separated list of trace stream names. For example,

set MIKTEX_TRACE=error,access

will trace all errors and file accesses. For more information, read the section Trace Streams in the MiKTeX manual.