Searching for packages in TeXLive

I recently bought a new ACER netbook which comes preinstalled with Windows 7.  It has been almost four years since I used a windows laptop, so I thought that I will give windows a shot before trying out a linux distro on this guy.

The first difficult question was which TeX distribution to use: MikTeX or TeXlive. In the past I had used MikTeX and was extremely happy with it. However, this time around I decided to check out TeXlive (TL), partly buoyed by my good experience with TL in linux.

Installation, setup, etc was a breeze. I think that I selected the basic setup during installation, and when I tried to compile one of my latex files a few packages were missing–mathtools, calcrsfs, dsfonts. In linux, I usually also install the texlive-math-extras bundle and do not need to worry about math packages. However, in windows, I could not find any such package. So, I tried to install these packages by hand.

TeXlive comes with a nice package manager called tlmgr (Of course, as we are talking about TeX software texlive-manager it had to be abbreviated to tlmgr). This allows one to search the CTAN database for packages. For example, I tried

C:\texlive\2009\bin\win32>tlmgr.bat search --global mathtools
tlmgr: package repository
 mh - The MH bundle


which told me that I had to install the mh package to get mathtools.sty. Installing the package is also easy. To install the mh bundle, I just had to say

C:\texlive\2009\bin\win32>tlmgr.bat install mh
tlmgr: package repository
[1/1, ??:??/??:??] install: mh [2129k]
tlmgr: package log updated at C:/texlive/2009/texmf-var/web2c/tlmgr.log
running mktexlsr ...
done running mktexlsr.


Easy. Well almost. Things were not so simple when I tried to install dsfont

C:\texlive\2009\bin\win32>tlmgr.bat search --global dsfont
tlmgr: package repository


I guess the empty output means nothing was found. I was confused. I knew that dsfont in part of TL because I use it in linux. So where was it lurking.

Searching CTAN gave me a hint. dsfont is part of the doublestroke package. Ah! Installing packages went smoothly from then on.

So, the next time you cannot find a package in TL, try searching CTAN.


4 thoughts on “Searching for packages in TeXLive

  1. Besides CTAN, you could try This new documentation site has a full TeX installation with documentation, it runs texdoc in the background for your query. It understands aliases, such as “picfaq” for the LaTeX picture FAQ and “article” for the base classes documentation. So it locates the doublestroke folder for a “dsfont” query.

    For scripts on my own system, I usually use kpsewhich and piping (or backticks) or the common find with xargs. This works only with installed files, of course.

    Btw. I saw that you listed under “Useful links”, very nice! It would also be great if you would add the forum below. It’s a useful resource with friendly help for LaTeX beginners and some special LaTeX features. Actually, has originally been developed to support the forum.

      • The LaTeX-Community forum is free and independent and community driven, since 5 years. TeX.SX is part of the commercial Stack Exchange network. So it uses the same engine as all those Q&A sites, without TeX specific features, which in contrast offers. SE has strict rules and is pure Q&A. SE has already closed sites which it doesn’t consider as “successfull”, and has deleted popular questions which doesn’t fit in the given model. So, let’s hope that TeX.SX stays online and would not be closed at some time just it doesn’t generate enough revenue via advertising, compared to the cooking site, gaming site and more on SE.

        As you are an active blogger: do you like to join the contest “LaTeX and graphics” on LaTeX-Community? It’s still running until June 20th. If yes, let me know, I would gladly provide an account on the development server for your writing and design check. A small blog-like contribution would already be great. Specifically, include some lines about your blog then and link it for the readers.

  2. Besides CTAN, you could use It’s a new documentation server with a full TeX Live installation with documentation. If you send a query, it runs texdoc in the background and returns the results. texdoc understands aliases which makes searching easier, and does file name and path matching. Here, for example, you would get the doublestroke path for a “dsfont” query.

    On my own system, for local searches, I usually use scripts made with kpsewhich and piping or backticks for quick lookup, or the common find with xargs.

    Btw. I saw you listed under “Useful links”, very nice! It would be great if you would add below, which is a useful resource and a friendly forum also for LaTeX beginners. It has even LaTeX specific features. Actually, has originally been developed for that forum serving for automatic documentation links via bbcode markup or clickable button, producing guessable links such as – and yes, this returns the doublestroke documentation.

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