Getting a LaTeX system set up


Today I was teaching the honours students in econometrics and economics about LaTeX. Here are some brief instructions on how to set up a LaTeX system on different operating systems.


  • Download and run the setup program for MikTeX. Choose the “basic” system.
  • Download and run the installer program for TeXstudio.

Then run TeXstudio and start typing.

Mac OS

  • Download and install MacTeX.

Then run TeXshop and start typing.


  • For Ubuntu 12.10 or later, install TexLive and TeXstudio through the software centre.

Then run Texstudio and start typing.


  • All the above TeX distributions contain TeXworks which can be used instead of TeXstudio. It is more basic, but works ok. I prefer TeXstudio for its additional features.

  • To make sure everything is working ok, open sample.tex in TeXstudio (or TeXshop or TeXworks) to see an example of a LaTeX file. (You will also need sample.bib stored in the same folder.) Click on “Quick build” (or hit F1) and the file should be processed and appear in a separate window. Study the difference between the original file and the final product to learn some basic LaTeX commands.

  • For help with learning LaTeX, see “Useful LaTeX links” or some of my other LaTeX posts.

  • Just because I post this information here does not mean I am offering to help with all your LaTeX issues. I will usually not answer emails asking for help. Please ask questions at

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