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Bazel rules for LaTeX

This repository provides Bazel rules for LaTeX, inspired by Klaus Aehlig's blog post on the matter.

Instead of depending on the host system's copy of LaTeX, these rules download a modular copy of TeXLive from GitHub. By using fine-grained dependencies, you will only download portions of TeXLive that are actually used in your documents.

As the output of the LaTeX tools is unnecessarily verbose, these build rules invoke LaTeX using latexrun. Errors and warnings are formatted simlar to those generated by Clang.

BibLaTeX is supported by biber and bibtex. Both are obtained from the TeX Live distribution. Latexrun defaults to bibtex. Please specify the command flag mentioned below to build with biber instead.

Using these rules

Add the following to WORKSPACE:

    name = "bazel_latex",
    sha256 = "<checksum>",
    strip_prefix = "bazel-latex-<release>",
    url = "<release>.tar.gz",
    patches = ["some_patch.patch"], % Optional

load("@bazel_latex//:repositories.bzl", "latex_repositories")


And add the following load() directive to your BUILD files:

load("@bazel_latex//:latex.bzl", "latex_document")

You can then use latex_document() in BUILD file to declare documents that need to be built.

    name = "my_report",
    srcs = glob([
    ]) + ["//company_dir:company_style"],
    cmd_flags = ["--bibtex-cmd=biber"], % Optional
    main = "my_report.tex",

Utilize cmd_flags to provide optional command line arguments, e.g. to run biber instead of bibtex.

Commonly reused sources (e.g., templates) can be placed in filegroup() blocks, so that they don't need to be repeated. Those filegroup() could be located not just in the single BUILD file, but in any of sub directories. For example, if you want to include company specific template files which are located in //company_dir directory as company_style, then declare them as like following in company_dir/BUILD file, and include the dependency, like //company_dir:company_style, in latex_repositories.

    name = "company_style",
    srcs = glob([

A PDF can be built by running:

bazel build //example:my_report

It can be viewed using your system's PDF viewer by running:

bazel run //example:my_report_view

If you want to get the output from the PDF viewer you can run:

bazel run //example:my_report_view_output

Using packages

By default, latex_document() only provides a version of TeXLive that is complete enough to build the most basic documents. Whenever you use \usepackage{} in your documents, you must also add a corresponding dependency to your latex_document(). This will cause Bazel to download and expose those packages for you. Below is an example of how a document can be built that depends on the Hyperref package.

    name = "hello",
    srcs = ["@bazel_latex//packages:hyperref"],
    main = "hello.tex",

This repository provides bindings for most commonly used packages. Please open a pull request if additional bindings are needed.

Local packages

If the desired package to use is not available through bazel-latex, but is available in TeX Live, then it is possible to patch BUILD.bazel in /packages to add support for the desired package locally.

Therefore, clone bazel-latex locally, and make the desired changes to the packages build file. Then, put the output of the diff in some_patch.patch, and update your WORKSPACE accordingly as shown below.

    name = "bazel_latex",
    sha256 = "<checksum>",
    strip_prefix = "bazel-latex-<release>",
    url = "<release>.tar.gz",
    patches = ["some_patch.patch"],

If this solution does not suffice, please feel free to open a PR to add the corresponding package to Bazel LaTeX. In that case, also see


An example is available in the corresponding folder. The example can be executed by running:

bazel run //example:my_report_view

Platform support

These rules have been tested to work on (using bazel 3.2.0):

  • FreeBSD 11.2, building locally.
  • macOS Mojave 10.14, building locally.
  • macOS Catalina 10.15, building locally.
  • Ubuntu 18.04, building locally.
  • Ubuntu 18.04 WSL, building locally.
  • Ubuntu 18.04, building on a Debian 8 based Buildbarn setup.
  • Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo), bulding locally.
  • Ubuntu 20.04, building locally.
  • Manjaro 18.1.2 (Juhraya), building locally.
  • Windows 10 1803, building on a Debian 8 based Buildbarn setup.

These rules are known not to work on:

  • Windows 10 1803, building locally.