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18 Using TeX and LaTeX

Guix provides packages for the TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, LuaTeX, and related typesetting systems, taken from the TeX Live distribution. However, because TeX Live is so huge and because finding your way in this maze is tricky, we thought that you, dear user, would welcome guidance on how to deploy the relevant packages so you can compile your TeX and LaTeX documents.

TeX Live currently comes in two flavors in Guix:

We recommend using the modular package set because it is much less resource-hungry. To build your documents, you would use commands such as:

guix shell texlive-base texlive-wrapfig \
  texlive-hyperref texlive-cm-super -- pdflatex doc.tex

You can quickly end up with unreasonably long command lines though. The solution is to instead write a manifest, for example like this one:



   "texlive-listings" "texlive-hyperref"

   ;; PGF/TikZ

   ;; Additional fonts.
   "texlive-cm-super" "texlive-amsfonts"
   "texlive-times" "texlive-helvetic" "texlive-courier"))

You can then pass it to any command with the -m option:

guix shell -m manifest.scm -- pdflatex doc.tex

See Writing Manifests, for more on manifests. In the future, we plan to provide packages for TeX Live collections—“meta-packages” such as fontsrecommended, humanities, or langarabic that provide the set of packages needed in this particular domain. That will allow you to list fewer packages.

The main difficulty here is that using the modular package set forces you to select precisely the packages that you need. You can use guix search, but finding the right package can prove to be tedious. When a package is missing, pdflatex and similar commands fail with an obscure message along the lines of:

doc.tex: File `tikz.sty' not found.
doc.tex:7: Emergency stop.

or, for a missing font:

kpathsea: Running mktexmf phvr7t
! I can't find file `phvr7t'.

How do you determine what the missing package is? In the first case, you’ll find the answer by running:

$ guix search texlive tikz
name: texlive-pgf
version: 59745

In the second case, guix search turns up nothing. Instead, you can search the TeX Live package database using the tlmgr command:

$ guix shell texlive-base -- tlmgr info phvr7t
tlmgr: cannot find package phvr7t, searching for other matches:

Packages containing `phvr7t' in their title/description:

Packages containing files matching `phvr7t':

The file is available in the TeX Live helvetic package, which is known in Guix as texlive-helvetic. Quite a ride, but we found it!

There is one important limitation though: Guix currently provides a subset of the TeX Live packages. If you stumble upon a missing package, you can try and import it (see Invoking guix import):

guix import texlive package

Additional options include:


Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

Note: TeX Live packaging is still very much work in progress, but you can help! See Contributing, for more information.

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