Is there a systematic way to find documentation for latex packages (e.g. beamer, TikZ, amsmath) on a windows machine with a MiKTeX/TeXnicCenter installation? It seems the package user manuals (pdf files) are scattered around in different folders on my machine. Can one ask MiKTeX or TeXnicCenter to find the documentation for a specific package?

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    in texlive the command is texdoc I understand it's a bit different in miktex but there are some comments about that here: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/4358/… – David Carlisle Apr 2 '14 at 14:19
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    texdoc works for miktex also. – user11232 Apr 2 '14 at 14:23
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    from command prompt texdoc <package name> (for example, texdoc amsmath) should work on windows and miktex. – user11232 Apr 2 '14 at 14:39
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    texdoc (and mthelp, the MikTeX version) both work directly from the search field in the Start menu I believe, in W7 at least. – Torbjørn T. Apr 2 '14 at 14:41
  • Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look at our starter guide to familiarize yourself further with our format. – Speravir Apr 3 '14 at 3:28

The original command is mthelp, as noted by Torbjørn, to be used on command prompt. Later texdoc was introduced as alias for mthelp, so Harish’s hint is valid, as well. Execute mthelp -? (or with texdoc) for command line options (Note, that MiKTeX’s texdoc does not understand all command line options from TeX Live’s texdoc and vice versa.)

To quote Ulrike Fischer from her answer to the related question How to force MikTeX' texdoc to open package manuals with a PDF reader rather than the DVI viewer? (read also the other answers!):

texdoc --view packagename tries to open the "main" documentation file. If this file is a pdf it is opened in the pdf-viewer, if it is a dvi the dvi-viewer YAP is used.

In addition:
By simply writing mthelp ⟨supposed-package-name⟩ it can happen that a local HTML page is produced and opened with your default browser showing the found results. This local HTML file is on my machine saved in C:\Users\Steffen\AppData\Local\MiKTeX\2.9\miktex\mthelp\ (in general the “UserData” root of MiKTeX, cf. the “Additional Note” in Create a local texmf tree in MiKTeX). It does not matter here, whether I invoked the search with mthelp or texdoc.

A good example would be mthelp dickimaw. This will produce a HTML file with 3 results, if the Dickimaw tutorials are installed:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" >
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8"/> 
<h1>dickimaw - Books and tutorials from the “Dickimaw LaTeX Seriesâ€</h1>

<p>The package provides are some of the books and tutorials that form part of the “Dickimaw LaTeX Seriesâ€. Only the A4 PDF is included here. Other formats, such as HTML or a screen optimized PDF, are available from the package home page. Books included are: “LaTeX for Complete Novicesâ€: an introductory guide to LaTeX. “Using LaTeX to Write a PhD Thesisâ€: a follow-on from “LaTeX for Complete Novices†geared towards students who want to use LaTeX to write their PhD thesis. “Creating a LaTeX minimal exampleâ€: describes how to create a minimal example, which can be used as a debugging aid when you encounter errors in your LaTeX documents.</p>


<tr><td><a href="file://C:\LaTeX\MiKTeX\doc\info\dickimaw\dickimaw-minexample.pdf">C:\LaTeX\MiKTeX\doc\info\dickimaw\dickimaw-minexample.pdf</td></tr>
<tr><td><a href="file://C:\LaTeX\MiKTeX\doc\info\dickimaw\dickimaw-novices.pdf">C:\LaTeX\MiKTeX\doc\info\dickimaw\dickimaw-novices.pdf</td></tr>
<tr><td><a href="file://C:\LaTeX\MiKTeX\doc\info\dickimaw\dickimaw-thesis.pdf">C:\LaTeX\MiKTeX\doc\info\dickimaw\dickimaw-thesis.pdf</td></tr>




But typing mthelp --view dickimaw will open the first result of them, i.e. dickimaw-minexample.pdf.

Note, that there is a certain amount of packages, where the name of main documentation is different from the package name. TikZ is a good example where you will be without success:

C:\Users\Steffen>mthelp tikz
Documentation for tikz could not be found.

You have to know that TikZ is part of of the pgf bundle and described in pgfmanual.pdf, so mthelp pgfmanual will open this file in you default PDF viewer.

I am meanwhile used to look directly in the doc subtree of MiKTeX. But when you use the feature of installing packages “on-the-fly”, these are found in your user profile, according to MiKTeX denomination in “UserConfig” (cf. again “Additional Note” in Create a local texmf tree in MiKTeX).

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