Getting Started: Installing LaTeX

What you need:

  1. A computer to install the LaTeX on.
  2. A LaTeX editor. This is the piece of software you will use to write your LaTeX files and to generate a final PDF output.
  3. Somewhere to save all your files.
  4. Patience.

Installing LaTeX

LaTeX comes in several flavours – they all effectively do the same job. Some are specific to certain platforms (Windows/Mac/Linux/etc.).


I work on Windows and use MikTeX. To download this, go to As of today, the latest stable version is MikTeX 2.7. Click on the link to this under ‘Downloads’ in the navigation bar. You will then find a page with simple installation instructions.

Useful links

University of Cambridge PWF Machines

According to the Cambridge University Computing Service pages, LaTeX and TeX are installed on the Windows PWF machines. For details, see

The Engineering Dept. has a useful webpage about LaTeX:

4 thoughts on “Getting Started: Installing LaTeX”

  1. Have you tried XeTeX at all? I’ve used it to write a short trial article which included some non-Latin alphabets. It’d be interesting to hear your experiences with it.

  2. I haven’t tried XeTeX yet. My main preoccupation at the moment is learning how to use BibLaTeX, as I’ve given up hope of getting jurabib to produce citations in a particular style.

    I just looked at the XeTeX examples on and it looks like it could be a much easier way of handling Arabic script compared to writing it out in Latin script in LaTeX. I will definitely look into this further.

    Did you find it straightforward to use? And is there a manual on XeTeX? I wasn’t able to find one.

  3. I was new to *Tex so the learning curve was steep, but for those already familiar with LaTeX, I’m sure the transition would be fairly easy. There’s a manual at .

    For a humanities style bibliography, I’m using chicago-notes-df, which seems to do exactly what I want.

    I also need Arabic support so I use a combination of XeTeX, Memoir, bidi and polyglossia. So far so good.

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