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LaTeX on Windows: Installing MikTeX

posted on 2009-05-11


In my graduation year I learned to use LaTeX and I fell in love with it. The output is just so clean and consistent. Meanwhile it has been a while since I’ve used LaTeX, but I wanted to use it again. I had to install everything again because my computer got reinstalled. So I’ll explain you how I did it.


MikTeX consists of an implementation of TeX and a set of related programs. MiKTeX only provides the tools necessary to prepare documents using the TeX/LaTeX markup language; it does not include a text editor or graphical word processor. So it’s the “engine” behind LaTeX. MikTeX comes in 2 versions:

  • Basic: This installer (82 MB) contains the most used packages, what will do for most people.
  • Complete: This Net installer (3 MB) operates in two steps: Downloading (almost all available) packages (850 MB), and installing them.

They both support automatic install of missing packages, but I like to have most of them installed in case I’ll need it so I’ve have chosen for the second option. But I didn’t use the Net installer to download the packages. In the past I had problems doing it this way, and I figured it is much easier and faster to download from a public FTP directly.

MikTeX lists all available Repositories on their site. I’ve used the FTP of the Nederlandstalige TeX Gebruikersgroep. The MikTeX packages on this FTP are in the folder: /mirror/tex-archive/systems/win32/miktex/tm/. So just download the packages-folder to a local drive using your favorite FTP client, and you can use the Net installer (select “Install packages”) to install them.

That’s it, now your ready to roll, for example type…

pdflatex myfile.tex

… to compile your first LaTeX document to PDF.


On the net I’ve found two sites who provide compiling LaTeX to PDF online, both do a great job:

… but I would not recommend using them to edit online.