I've been using MacTex-2012 for a while (well, since 2012) with no problems (well, relatively few problems). Today, while using tlmgr (which I hadn't played around with much before), I got an error message similar to that described here, suggesting that it wouldn't play nicely unless I updated to a newer TeX Live distribution; I followed a couple of links to re-install TeX Live 2014 as described here.

Now, it seems that TeX Live 2014 is installed properly, as it shows up under usr/local/texlive/2014. However, I don't think TeXShop is recognizing the installation. In System Preferences, the TeX distribution pane allows one to choose the system-wide TeX distribution to be used, which (I believe) specifies the distribution to be used by TeXShop. This pane only shows TeX Live 2012.

I know that I can re-install MacTeX to solve the problem (and it seems that that would have been the right move in the first place). However, I'm wondering if there's a way to make my system recognize TeX Live 2014 without having to download another big file.

1 Answer 1


If you've installed TeX Live via the standard UNIX installer but want to keep using the TeX Distribution prefpane, you can create /Library/TeX/Distributions/TeXLive-2014.texdist manually. It's basically a Mac OS bundle with a bunch of relative symbolic links in it, and it's documented at /Library/TeX/Distributions/TeXDist-description.rtf if you've previously installed some version of MacTeX.

Note that TeXLive-2014.texdist/Contents contains a single symlink to a hidden folder:

$ ls -l /Library/TeX/Distributions/TeXLive-2014.texdist/
total 8
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  admin  41 Aug  4 10:49 Contents@ -> ../.FactoryDefaults/TeXLive-2014/Contents

Here's what's inside that symlink target:

$ ls -l /Library/TeX/Distributions/.FactoryDefaults/TeXLive-2014/Contents
total 48
drwxr-xr-x  7 root  admin  238 Aug  4 10:49 AllTexmf/
drwxr-xr-x  6 root  admin  204 Aug  4 10:49 Doc/
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  admin   60 Aug  4 10:49 Info@ -> ../../../../../../usr/local/texlive/2014/texmf-dist/doc/info
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  admin   59 Aug  4 10:49 Man@ -> ../../../../../../usr/local/texlive/2014/texmf-dist/doc/man
drwxr-xr-x  7 root  admin  238 Aug  4 10:49 Programs/
drwxr-xr-x  3 root  admin  102 Aug  4 10:49 Resources/
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  admin   40 Aug  4 10:49 Root@ -> ../../../../../../usr/local/texlive/2014
-rw-r--r--  1 root  admin    2 Aug  4 10:49 TeXDistVersion
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  admin   47 Aug  4 10:49 TexmfLocal@ -> ../../../../../../usr/local/texlive/texmf-local
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  admin   50 Aug  4 10:49 TexmfSysVar@ -> ../../../../../../usr/local/texlive/2014/texmf-var

At this point, you may have decided to just bite the bullet and download MacTeX again, but maybe someone will find this useful in future.

An alternate approach, of course, is to point TeXShop and other applications at the actual location of your binaries, and also to adjust your shell PATH variable for UNIX applications.

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