MiKTeX is both a modern C/C++ implemenentation of TeX & Friends and a TeX distribution.
The MiKTeX Project Page is the place to go, if you want to learn more about MiKTeX.
What you will find here
This readme file is located in the top-level directory of the MiKTeX source code tree.
The MiKTeX source code allows you to build and install a bare TeX system ("Just enough TeX").
MiKTeX provides an integrated package manager, which can automatically download and install missing packages. Thus:
- you start with MiKTeX executables and man pages
- in the course of authoring your documents: only necessary packages will be downloaded and installed
MiKTeX can be built on Windows and Unix-like (including macOS) systems. Please consult these HOWTOs for platform-specific build instructions:
In addition, you can try one of the Dockerized build environments to build MiKTeX:
Building MiKTeX requires a modern C/C++ compiler. The minimum required standard versions are C99 and C++14.
The MiKTeX build is driven by CMake, a tool which will create Makefiles suited for the local system. The minimum required CMake version is 3.7.0.
Various build utilities
In addition to the compiler and the CMake build system, you will need these utilities:
On Unix-like platforms (including macOS), you will need development packages for these libraries:
- LibreSSL (or OpenSSL)
Please consult the platform-specific HOWTO, for more information.
It is recommended that you build outside the source code directory:
Here you have to specify the path to the MiKTeX source code directory
../source in the example above).
CMake for Windows may require a generator specification. If you want
to generate Makefiles for
nmake, run this:
cmake -G "NMake Makefiles" ../source
Useful build variables
When running CMake to generate the Makefiles, it is possible to set build variables as follows:
cmake -DVAR1=VAL1 -DVAR2=VAL2 ...
The most useful build variables are:
The installation directory used by
make install(see below). This variable defaults to
/usr/localon Unix-like systems (including macOS).
Suitable prefixes are:
Use this prefix, if you want to install MiKTeX just for yourself. No administrator privileges are required.
Use this prefix, if you want to create a self-contained MiKTeX setup which does not conflict with other system packages.
Don't build UI applications.
Run the Make utility to build MiKTeX, for example:
or, if you build with NMake on Windows:
CMake has created a standard
install target which you can use to
install everything in the standard location (see the
CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX description above). On Linux, you would run
This will install MiKTeX in the
Most of the MiKTeX executables are prefixed with
example, the file name of the pdfTeX executable is
You can create symbolic links targetting the
initexmf --admin --mklinks
After running this command, the pdfTeX engine can be invoked as
pdftex, provided that
pdftex did not exist before (use the
--force option to overwrite existing files).
--mklinks option will also create symbolic links for format
files and scripts. For example, you can invoke
pdflatex loaded) and
latexmk (wrapper for the Perl
Relocating the installation
On Unix-like platforms, you can use the
DESTDIR mechanism in order
to relocate the whole installation:
make DESTDIR=/home/jane install
This will install everything using the installation prefix
CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX) prepended with the
DESTDIR value, which
DESTDIR mechanism is helpful if you want to understand what
make install installs where.
You are now at a point where you have the MiKTeX executables, some configuration files and man pages.
It is recommended that you install some packages now:
mpm --admin --install=amsfonts --install=ltxbase
amsfonts contains Type1 fonts for the traditional TeX fonts
(aka "Computer Modern"). Package
ltxbase contains the LaTeX
document preparation system.
If disk space is not an issue, you can "upgrade" your MiKTeX installation. This is usually not recommended when you use MiKTeX just for yourself. But it might make sense if you are maintaining a system-wide MiKTeX installation.
To upgrade to a basic MiKTeX installation, run
mpm --admin --verbose --package-level=basic --upgrade
In order to make newly installed font map files available for the various TeX engines, you must run
initexmf --admin --mkmaps
These are the final steps: update the file name database again:
initexmf --admin --update-fndb
If you used the
--admin option to set up a shared MiKTeX
installation, remove the user
rm -fr ~/.miktex
Running the pdfTeX engine for the first time
You can now test the MiKTeX setup by running
or, if you want to omit the
This will create the PDF file
In order to validate the MiKTeX setup, you can run the MiKTeX test suite.
If you want to completely wipe out MiKTeX, you have to
- remove symbolic links
- undo the effect of
- remove MiKTeX directories
Before you proceed, you should run
initexmf --report in order to
find the locations of the MiKTeX directories.
Removing symbolic links
initexmf --admin --force --remove-links
to remove the symbolic links created by
initexmf --mklinks (see
There is an
uninstall target which allows you to remove all files
make install (see above):
Removing MiKTeX directories
There are a couple of MiKTeX directories which have to be removed manually. For example:
rm -fr ~/.miktex rm -fr /usr/local/share/miktex-texmf rm -fr /var/cache/miktex-texmf rm -fr /var/lib/miktex-texmf rm -fr /var/log/miktex
Please inspect the output of
initexmf --report in order to find out
the exact locations.