Getting started with Tex/Latex on Mac/Linux

This is some notes I’ve learnt after hours and hours trying to figure out how Tex/LaTex works! I found it very hard to find a beginner’s guide, so I decided to write down what I’ve learnt in the simplest way I can explain.

Installation

Mac

  1. Download MacTex ( http://tug.org/mactex/ )
  2. Install the pkg file, very straight forward
  3. if you need to use “dvipng”, make sure to install by:
    $ sudo tlmgr update --self
    $ sudo tlmgr install dvipng

Under CentOS, we use Texlive, a implementation of Tex compiler. For instructions to install on CentOS, please checkout my previous blog post : Install Tex on CentOS linux

Concept / Tools you need to know

how does it work (in a nutshell)

You start by writing the .tex source file, using the “latex” command to compile .tex to .dvi file, then later can be converted to .ps / .pdf / any image format by combination of several tools.

texmf

LaTex packages are stored under texmf directories, as far as I know there could be more than 1 texmf directory. When you install fonts/other packages, you should merge the folders into the texmf hierarchy.

texhash

the command update the index after you install the packages

latex/pdflatex

the command tools to compile .tex source file into .dvi files

dvipng

a tools that convert dvi file into png

How to install more fonts?

Installing fonts is harder than you think (not as easy as putting .ttf into the font folder), I will cover this topic in future when I understand more about it.

tlmgr

This is the Texlive package manager comes with the MacTex, but this is not available in CentOS. I guess because you already can install packages by yum.

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