Getting LaTeX working on a Mac

In this post I’ll describe how to get LaTeX up and running on a Mac. First of all, it’s not as easy as just going, brew install latex, and then saying, pdflatex kapow.tex, but it’s not as hard as doing literally anything on Windows either.

Install MacTex

There’s a special LaTeX for Macs called, wait for it, MacTex. You go to their internet website, and then download and install their package. No sweat. Once that is done, navigate to /Applications/Tex and install the package found therein, FixMacTex2014.pkg.

At this point you might be thinking, “Good, I’m all set. I can use pdflatex now.” Well, not so fast cowboy.


Compiling LaTeX documents from the command line requires one more operation. You have to add /usr/texbin to the $PATH variable. You can do this from the command line with the following line,

export PATH=$PATH:/usr/texbin

Now, you should be able to compile .tex files into .pdf files using the pdflatex utility as

pdflatex foobar.tex && open foobar.pdf

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