Install Latex in Windows

4 min 665 words
Peter Tillemans Profile picture

Categories: apps

Tags: LaTeX

I have some latex templates to format documents to create fancy formal looking PDF versions of my plaintext mode documents I create in org-mode in emacs, well spacemacs actually.


Since this are tools built in the UNIX world I expected a protracted battle before I got all settings right, especially since there was no version of Live Tex in the chocolatey repositories. I never tried MikTex before.

Installing MikTex

That is easy, in an admin shell run :

> choco install miktex

This will take a bit so we can already fetch the templates.

Installing the custom LaTeX templates

I keep my templates in git repositories for easy updating. Some are shared with others so new features are sometimes added. Let's make a place for these

In the msys terminal :

$ cd
$ mkdir -p .local/texmf/tex/latex

I want to use the .local/texmf as the local extension folder, but MikTex will not allow to select it if the tex/latex folders are missing. Also this is consistent with the Mac and Linux versions.

Installing the custom templates

Just add the repos for the .sty and .cls files to the folder we just made:

$ cd ~/.local/texmf/tex/latex
$ git clone
$ ... repeat for other templates ...

Configuring MikTex

After installation look for MikTex in the Start Menu to start the config tool. It will complain that no update has been done yes, so I humoured it by updating, none are available since it is just installed, but it keeps regularly reminding me to update. I assume this'll go away once some update arrives.

Add the texmf folder we created :

  • Press the '+' icon
  • Navigate the ~/.local/texmf
  • Confirm

Keep the tool open because we need to copy the location of the bin folder in the next step.

## Add the TeX tools to the PATH

I only use the TeX tools from Spacemacs so I'll just add it there. The Spacemacs dev team decided to make the environment variables, including the path, load from a config file. Having been at the receiving end of the confusion which follows from the subtle differences when launching Emacs as daemon, from the GUI menu or from the command line, I heartily applaud this approach.

In any case I just update the PATH in Spacemacs

  • Space f e e (to open the environment config file)
  • find the line with PATH= ( '' PATH Enter, maybe some /n* to find the one)
  • Copy the location from the config tool
  • Paste it in the PATH value (do not forget the ';' separator)
  • Esc : w (to save changes)
  • Space f e E (to reload the new value)

Using it

Well nothing new here, it kind of just works:

Creating a PDF

Open an org file with the LaTeX headers or add them with , e e # and select latex from the list. Check the LATEX~CLASS~ is one of the custom classes.

Then , e e l o and ... nothing will happen, ..., well emacs tells it is busy with the texfile. It takes a while, taskmaster shows processes blinking in and of existence under the Emacs process. I assume MikTex is compiling stuff in the background of first use.

Eventually it returns stating PDF export failed and to consult the log file.

Fix Errors

The end of the logfile showed scary things of not being able to write. Let's ignore those for now : I learned to treat the first errors in the LaTeX log output first, and retry and move my way down the log till there are no more errors.

First Error : 'Libertine Font' was not found, a bit further the same with 'Lato'.

Download the fonts, unzip, select all .ttf files and right-click install.

Try again and the PDF opens ... in the Edge Browser ??? And the Edge Browser attached itself to the taskbar??? Again??? I need to tackle that some time.

Well, it works. Take the document and send it to those you wanted to impress.