After downloading, move the file MacTeX.pkg to the desktop or another convenient spot,
and double click it to install. Follow the straightforward instructions. Installation on a recent Macintosh
takes about six minutes.
MacTeX completely configures TeX, so after installation
it is ready to use. Go to /Applications/TeX and read the short document
"READ ME FIRST" to get started. This document leads a new user through the complete process of writing and typesetting a short LaTeX document. The location /Applications/TeX also contains "What is installed", which lists all the components of MacTeX and their installation locations.
MacTeX installs TeX Live, which contains TeX, LaTeX, AMS-TeX, and virtually every TeX-related style file and font.
TeX Live is maintained by TeX User Groups across the world.
TeX Live is compiled from the same sources for all platforms: Macintosh, Windows, Linux, Unix.
MacTeX also installs Ghostscript, an open source version of Postscript,
and it installs the GUI programs
TeXShop, LaTeXiT, TeX Live Utility, BibDesk, and Excalibur.
At the end of installation, the installer will report "Success." But sometimes, the installer puts up a dialog saying "Verifying..." and then the install hangs. This hasn't occurred to the developers of MacTeX, but users have written us about it. In all cases known to us, rebooting the Macintosh fixes this problem. After the reboot, install again.
If other problems are reported during installation, skip to the section "Installation Errors" below.
Updating from an Earlier MacTeX Installation
If you previously installed MacTeX, you may already have your own favorite front ends and GUI programs. Perhaps, in addition, you have Ghostscript from another source such as MacPorts or HomeBrew. In these cases, it is easy to install just the pieces you need.
Download MacTeX using the earlier link. Double click to install. Several pages of information
will be displayed; below is one of the last. Click the "Customize" button to obtain a page allowing you to select one or more of "TeX Live", "Ghostscript", "GUI Applications."
It is not necessary to remove the earlier TeX Live installation before installing a new one, and indeed we don't recommend that because MacTeX makes it easy to revert to the older version if the new version has a flaw. If you really need the extra space, other sections of these web pages explain how to remove older versions of MacTeX.
Sometimes at the end of installation, the installer will report "The installation failed
The Installer encountered an error that caused the installation to fail. Contact the software manufacturer for assistance."
In almost all cases, this error is caused by a faulty download. There is an easy way to check this. Go to /Applications/Utilities and run Terminal. Type
and a space. Then drag the install package icon "MacTeX.pkg" and drop it on the Terminal window.
Push RETURN. Terminal will print a message and then a long item with letters and numbers.
Compare this number to the md5 sum at the top of this page just under the MacTeX.pkg link.
If the two numbers are different, your download was defective and you must download again.
If you downloaded with a third party browser, we recommend trying Safari for the new download.
The md5 number is very long to make the odds infinitesimal that an authentic version and a defective copy will produce the same number.
Md5 numbers are used systematically through TUG and CTAN. MacTeX is created on a single machine
and uploaded to TUG, but then the md5 number of the original is compared with the md5 number of the upload. Later MacTeX is moved from the TUG server to a large number of CTAN servers across the world, but after each of these moves, the md5 numbers are checked. Thus it is essentially impossible that a particular server has a defective copy of MacTeX. In case of trouble, it is
essential to check md5, since MacTeX support staff will ask about it before any troubleshooting.
If you are having trouble downloading MacTeX, note that the download link
points to a "multiplexer" site which parcels out requests to various up-to-date CTAN mirrors. Occasionally users have trouble getting the package from this multiplexer. In that case, choose a specific mirror on this mirror page.
MacTeX is a very large package. If your network is noisy, you might want to try downloading
and installing BasicTeX. See Smaller Download.
BasicTeX is very much smaller, and yet has most files, fonts, and programs to process TeX,
so this is a rapid way to get a working TeX. BasicTeX need not be uninstalled before
installing MacTeX, so once you convince yourself that our packages work, you can return to the
main task of installing MacTeX. TUG strongly recommends the full MacTeX for most users, including
So far, we've given alternatives for bad downloads. But if your download has the correct md5
sum, and you still get a message that installation failed, it is time to click "MacTeX Installer Support" at the bottom of this page and ask for help.
Problems with TeX Live 2016 after Installation
TeX Live 2016 and the various GUI programs installed by MacTeX are up to date as of June, 2016. But various pieces may have been updated since June. Each of our GUI programs has a menu item called "Check for Updates." Select this item to update the program to the current version. The TeX Live command line files are updated daily. To install these updates, use TeX Live Utility in /Applications/TeX.
The program xdvi in the original release of MacTeX-2016 runs with XQuartz 2.7.8, but not with the latest
release, XQuartz 2.7.9. Updating your system with TeX Live Utility will fix this problem on Snow Leopard and above,
but you must then update XQuartz to the latest version.
MacTeX-2016 was released on June 3, 2016. Apple released beta copies of macOS 10.12, Sierra, on June 13, 2016. This operating system was released to the public on September 20, 2016. The original MacTeX-2016 installer had one minor problem with Sierra, but only if the user installed Sierra on an empty disk rather than updating an earlier system. In that case, typesetting from the command line may not work, although the GUI apps will work fine.
This problem was fixed early in October, 2016, and downloads after that date should be fine.
The problem was caused because Sierra does not create the folders /etc/paths.d and /etc/manpaths.d on new disks. Newer versions of MacTeX create these folders. If you installed an older version of MacTeX-2016, or installed from the TeX Live DVD, you can fix the problem by downloading and installing the very small package FixLink.pkg
TeX Live DVD
Free copies of TeX Live are available over the internet, but this can be problematic if your
internet connection is unstable. Members of the TeX User Group (TUG) receive a free DVD containing the full TeX Live for all common platforms. TUG also sells this DVD to others. For details, click on the TUG icon at top right.
MacTeX Installer Support