I have a couple 'packages' (more appropriately called styles) that I'd like to painlessly distribute to my classmates. The most straightforward way to do this is via CTAN, but I'm not sure if it is appropriate to upload the style since it is only applicable to a very small group of people, and possibly only for a few years.

Has this sort of thing been done before? If I put these styles on CTAN, would angry TeXers show up at my door bearing pitchforks full of burning hay, chanting curses upon my family and descendants, for cluttering their filesystem with useless-to-them styles?

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    sounds more appropriate for something like github
    – cmhughes
    Feb 19, 2014 at 17:26
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    I'm sharpening my pitchfork as we speak :) More seriously, my answer would be: yes. Packages on CTAN can be very domain-specific but there shouldn't be any restrictions as to who can/should use them. That said, only someone from CTAN could offer a more definitive answer.
    – jub0bs
    Feb 19, 2014 at 17:47
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    I've been pondering this; if you're users are not computer savvy, what will be the advantage of posting the files on ctan?
    – cmhughes
    Feb 19, 2014 at 21:44
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    @cmhughes Then they can open up a GUI program, search for, say, Sean's package, and click 'Install'. (When I say not computer-savvy, I mean, "So open up the terminal." "The what?") Feb 20, 2014 at 3:29
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    Yes but tlmgr will only install stuff in TeX Live. You can't install arbitrary CTAN packages that way. And CTAN is not going to have PGF 3 until it has PGF 3, if you see what I mean. The bit about the separate directories I don't understand. Why would that be a problem?
    – cfr
    Feb 20, 2014 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


I've been encouraged by the Great Old Ones of the TeX world to submit when I have something usable. Your style file may seem to you like a tool of limited application; but it could wind up being exactly what somebody needed for some unforeseeable reason. Furthermore, even if people don't use your package for its intended purpose, it's quite possible that they can skim it for ideas or for specific code.

When we submit to CTAN, in other words, we're enriching each other; as long as your package works and solves a real problem, I'd say submit it.

  • Woah! Didn't see this answer :) I guess my dilemma is with the definition of 'real problem'. It's not a problem per se; it's just enforcing a certain look and feel. Consider it analogous to putting up a style file for franchise use: it's very helpful to a relatively small group of people. May 12, 2015 at 22:56
  • That's a real problem. If individual universities and publishers can post their own class files, useful only for a very limited population, I don't see why your package shouldn't be uploaded. May 13, 2015 at 2:28
  • Wait, do they? I've never seen one. May 13, 2015 at 2:30
  • Search CTAN for "thesis"; you'll find plenty of examples. May 13, 2015 at 2:33
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    @SeanAllred Also, consider this. How widely used are the styles for Computers and Electronics in Agriculture? (Not to say this isn't a great journal but it does sound quite specialist.). There are even macros there for printing the dates of Friday 13ths between 1991 and 2003 (thirteen). (I'm sure it is very useful to superstitious time-machine owners.)
    – cfr
    May 13, 2015 at 3:14

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