Linux Commands Examples

A great documentation place for Linux commands


configures teTeX or TeX Live system-wide

see also : whiptail - dialog - tex - mf - vi



texconfig [ commands ...]


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texconfig allows one to configure and maintain TeX in an easy and convenient manner, offering a series of dialog boxes to the user.

The tlmgr program has subsumed this function for TeX Live. This program is still supported, but the tlmgr interface is much more actively developed and tested.

After choosing settings or options, the appropriate files are changed automatically and the new settings are applied for the user. If needed, copies of files in TEXMFDIST or TEXMFMAIN will be made in the user’s TEXMFCONFIG tree.

texconfig uses either the whiptail(1) or dialog(1) program to communicate with the user, so must be run in a terminal.

For making system-wide changes, which will apply to all users of TeX (for example, default paper size and so on), run texconfig-sys instead. Changed or generated files will be placed in TEXMFSYSCONFIG. (You may need to be root to do this.)

Note that on a Debian system, changes to formats, font setup, hyphenation for different languages, etc. should not be done with texconfig, because fmtutil.cnf(5), updmap.cfg(5), texmf.cnf and language.dat are generated files in Debian. See TeX-on-Debian.pdf, TeX-on-Debian.txt.gz or TeX-on-Debian.html/index.html in /usr/share/doc/tex-common/ for alternatives.

texconfig also offers a non-interactive batch mode which can be accessed with the following commands


Commands that accept further options usually display available options if called without them. For example, texconfig dvipdfm paper will inform about valid paper settings.


Display the system configuration.

dvipdfm paper [letter|legal|ledger|tabloid|a4|a3]

Set up dvipdfm to use papersize PAPER by default.


Create a new (empty) configuration file TEXMFCONFIG/dvips/config/config.PRINTERNAME. This file can later be filled with the mode, offset or printcmd options


Remove config.PRINTERNAME

dvips mode

List available MetaFont modes.

dvips [-P PRINTER] mode MODE

Change the MetaFont mode to MODE for PRINTER or for all output files (, if no -P option is given.

dvips [-P PRINTER] offset x-OFFSET,y-OFFSET

Set printer offset for PRINTER or for all output files (, if no -P option is given. Offsets must be given with units, e.g. 0pt,10pt You can use testpage.tex from the LaTeX distribution to find these numbers.

dvips [-P PRINTER] printcmd CMD

Set the printing command for PRINTER or for all output files (, if no -P option is given. Commands might be lp or lpr. See the description of the o option in info dvips or the -O option in dvips(1).


Display the list of Frequently Asked Questions about teTeX (and their answers).

font vardir DIR, font ro, font rw

These options should not be used on a Debian system unless you really know what you are doing. For details, look at the output of texconfig fonts and read section 2.5, font caching, in the TeX-on-Debian documentation in /usr/share/doc/tex-common/.


This command allows to edit fmtutil.cnf(5) and (re)creates any new or changed formats afterwards. It should not be used on Debian systems, unless you want to temporarily create and test a specific format, because fmtutil.cnf(5) is a generated file in Debian, and changes will be overwritten. See update-fmtutil for details.

hyphen FORMAT

This command allows to edit the hyphenation configuration file for formats that support this, and recreates the formats afterwards to enable the new languages. Available formats are shown when no FORMAT is given.

Note that for formats that use LaTeX’s language.dat,
e.g. (pdf)jadetex and latex itself, this change is not persistent, since this file is a generated file. You should not use this command in these cases, read update-language(1) for alternatives.

init [format]

Recreate format or all formats if none is given, and the font information. This is the same as calling fmtutil --byfmt format or fmtutil --all, respectively, followed by updmap.


List available printer modes, together with the printers they were developed for, and their DPI resolution

mode MODE

Set the default printer mode in /etc/texmf/web2c/mktex.cnf or the respective user file in $TEXMFCONFIG/web2c to MODE.

paper [a4|letter]

Set the default papersize for dvips, dvipdfm, pdftex and xdvi. The set is restricted because not all programs understand all sizes.

pdftex paper [a4|letter]

Set the default paper size for pdftex.


Call mktexlsr.

xdvi paper PAPER

Set the default paper size for xdvi. The (long) list is available with texconfig xdvi paper.


To let you change files, texconfig will open the editor specified in the VISUAL or EDITOR variables, or sensible-editor if both are unset.

see also

whiptail , dialog , tlmgr, tex , mf , vi , EDITOR environment variable.


Thomas Esser

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