I'm totally new to LaTeX and similar programs. I'm actually trying to get started with LyX as I want something easy to use and basic.

I'm trying to download the MacTeX 'distribution' (I think that's the name for it), but it requires 4.33GB! This seems very large. Is this the correct size for the distribution, or can I find something smaller elsewhere?

  • I guess that you can install a basic version, not the complete scheme.
    – Sigur
    Jan 14, 2014 at 19:22
  • Thanks Sigur. Is 4.33GB the correct size for the file, then? Jan 14, 2014 at 19:24
  • Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look at our starter guide to familiarize yourself further with our format.
    – jub0bs
    Jan 14, 2014 at 19:24
  • For the complete scheme, yes. With it you will have all the packages to use.
    – Sigur
    Jan 14, 2014 at 19:25
  • Sigur - I have a further question (not sure if I need to start a new thread for this, but here goes...). I'm being asked to install something to enable 'cc command' - do you know if this is essential? Jan 14, 2014 at 19:30

2 Answers 2


The MacTeX.pkg file available at http://tug.org/mactex/downloading.html is 2.3GB. It will expand to much larger than that. 4.33GB is probably right.

Once you've installed, you can use the TeX Live Utility to update the system, or add new packages.

If you want something smaller, you can look at BasicTeX: http://tug.org/mactex/morepackages.html

You can install BasicTeX with the TeX Live Utility to customize your system to your liking.


According to tug.org (the website of the Tex User Group) the package should approximately be 2.3GB

You could consider downloading BasicTex, a stripped down version of MacTex (~90 MB), and add packages you need using the Tex Live manager which is included.


Ernst Jan

source and more info and download links: tug.org

  • For use with LyX, this is not recommended.
    – Alan Munn
    Jan 15, 2014 at 1:49
  • @AlanMunn Although not recommended it might be worth considering when on a slow or unstable internet connection. Therefore I did mention it. It is also suggested on the Lyx Wiki: wiki.lyx.org/Mac/Mac#Prerequisite
    – EJG89
    Jan 15, 2014 at 9:50

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