Building MiKTeX (Unix-like systems)
The MiKTeX source code allows you to build and install a minimal TeX system. MiKTeX provides an integrated package manager, which can automatically download and install missing packages. Thus:
- you start with a compact TeX setup
- only packages which are referenced by your projects will be installed
MiKTeX can be built on Windows and Unix-like (including macOS) systems. Please consult these HOWTOs for platform-specific build instructions:
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)
When building UI components with Qt5:
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 administrative privileges are required.
Use this prefix, if you want to create a self-contained MiKTeX setup which does not conflict with other system packages.
Build UI applications (experimental).
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 and macOS, you
This will install MiKTeX in the
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.
Initialize the package database
MiKTeX has the ability to install missing packages "on-the-fly". The package database must have been set up for this to work:
mpm --admin --update-db
--admin option is only required if you are building a shared
MiKTeX setup. If you are setting up MiKTeX just for yourself (i.e.,
in your user directory), you have to omit this option.
Please consult the mpm(1) man page, for more information about the utility.
Enabling "on-the-fly" package installation
In order to enable the automatic package installer, run the MiKTeX Configuration Utility as follows:
initexmf --admin --set-config-value [MPM]AutoInstall=1 initexmf --admin --update-fndb
Again, you have to omit
--admin, if you intend to use MiKTeX just
--update-fndb updates the file name database.
Please consult the initexmf(1) man page, for more information about the MiKTeX Configuration Utility.
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 link names).
--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
Installing basic packages
You use the MiKTeX Package Manager to install basic MiKTeX packages:
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 and, if
you used the
--admin option, remove the
.miktex directory, which
was created in the previous steps:
initexmf --admin --update-fndb 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 /var/lib/miktex-texmf rm -fr /var/cache/miktex-texmf rm -fr /usr/local/share/miktex-texmf
Please inspect the output of
initexmf --report in order to find out
the exact locations.