# What are TeXLive's four different texmf folders?

Could someone please explain to me what the purpose of the four different texmf folders are in Mac? E.g. there is:

1. `/usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf`
2. `/usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf-config`
3. `/usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf-dist`
4. `/usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf-var`

Also, when installing fonts and packages, do I place them in `/texmf` or `/texmf-dist`?

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You can find all search pathes by `kpsexpand '\$TEXMF'` and only the local search path by `kpsexpand '\$TEXMFHOME'` –  Marco Daniel Sep 9 '11 at 16:58
Refer to Section 2.3 Overview of the predeﬁned texmf trees of the TeX Live documentation. –  Gonzalo Medina Sep 9 '11 at 17:00

OK, given the helpful comments to your query, here's a discussion of how the various `texmf` folders map into the "official" nomenclature of the TeXLive tree (set in all-caps):

• .../texmf: TEXMFMAIN -- "The tree which holds vital parts of the system such as configuration files, helper scripts, and program documentation."
• .../texmf-dist: TEXMFDIST -- "The tree which holds the main set of macro packages, fonts, etc."
• .../texmf-var: TEXMFSYSVAR -- "The (site-wide) tree used by texconfig-sys, updmap-sys and fmtutil-sys, and also by tlmgr, to store (cached) runtime data such as format files and generated map files."
• .../texmf-config: TEXMFSYSCONFIG -- "The (site-wide) tree used by the utilities texconfig-sys, updmap-sys, and fmtutil-sys to store modified configuration data."

Separately, if you have a LOCALTEXMF directory tree, TeXLive expects to find it at `/usr/local/texlive/texmf-local`, unless you edit the configuration file `/usr/local/texlive/`year `/texmf.cnf` and provide an alternate location. If you do so, be sure to run `texhash` to update the filename database.

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no, `texmf-local` is always at `/usr/local/texlive/texmf-local`. It is before the year wise distributions –  Herbert Sep 9 '11 at 18:05
@Herbert: Thanks for catching this mistake; I've removed the year part from the final paragraph of my answer. –  Mico Sep 9 '11 at 18:28
Also, `/usr/local/texlive/texmf-local` is for system-wide local additions, not individual user local additions, which are normally placed in TEXMFHOME (on Linux systems, standardly `/home/<user>/texmf`; on a Mac `/Users/Library/texmf`). If you have a single user system, there's not much advantage to installing local packages in `/usr/local/texlive/texmf-local`, I think. –  Alan Munn Sep 9 '11 at 21:33
@Alan Munn: files in `/home/<user>/texmf` are searched recursively which is slower than using the ls-R file of `/usr/local/texlive/texmf-local` –  Herbert Sep 10 '11 at 8:15
@Herbert Surely you'd have to have a lot of stuff in there for that difference to be noticeable? (And you can run `texhash` on the local dir too, right?) –  Alan Munn Sep 10 '11 at 13:13

the `TeX Directory Structure` (TDS) is documented in http://tug.org/tds/tds.html#Top_002dlevel-directories. That is the structure below `texmf-dist` and also below `.../texmf-local/` and `~/texmf/`.

The directories for TeXLive are documented in http://tug.org/texlive/doc/texlive-en/texlive-en.html#x1-100002.2

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