I have BasicTeX installed on my Mac, which I'm running through TeXShop (TeXShop 3.51 and TeX 3.14159265 (TeX Live 2014)). If I go to the Help Menu, select "Show Help for Package", enter the name of an installed package (e.g. tikz), and then click "OK", I get no response (i.e. no pdf with the documentation).

My guess is that this has to do with the fact that I'm running BasicTeX rather than the full MacTeX package (I've had a broadly similar problem in the past). Is there an additional package that I can install to get this help functionality working, or will this only work if I install the full MacTeX package?

Update 1

I downloaded texshopsource351 and in it found a file advanced_personaltetex.htm which contains the following information:

What goes where?

The texmf folder contains a number of folders, and these folders themselves contain other folders. For most users, the three top-level folders that are most important are the following:


doc : Put documentation files from packages installed in the tex folder here. Putting the documentation files here allows them to be found by the texdoc system (or the "Show Help for Package" function in the Help menu of TeXShop). Other top-level folders in include fonts, scripts, and source.

Judging by this, the "Show Help for Package" menu command uses texdoc, which is not included in BasicTeX. I've now installed texdoc, but the menu command still doesn't work. This seems to be because (as per the above) texdocsearches the directory ~/Library/texmf/doc, which does not exist on my computer.

I have been using TeX Live Utility to install packages. So I guess my question is: (i) where are the documentation files stored if I download a package using TeX Live Utility (or does it not download these at all?), and (ii) how do I get it to store the files in the directory that texdoc searches?

Update 2

If I run texdoc -d tikz on the command line I get nothing, but if I run texdoc -d latex it opens a documentation pdf for KOMA script. It seems that texdoc is searching the directory /usr/local/texlive/2014basic/texmf-dist/doc/. So my question, again, seems to be: how do I get TeX Live Utility to download documentation files into this directory when I use it to install a package? It seems the problem I'm encountering may be related to this question.

  • I'm no expert in BasicTeX, but my impression, based on what you say in your question, is that no package documentation is installed. You'll live more happily if you install MacTeX and run TeX Live Utility once a month. Wait a few days: MacTeX/TeX Live 2015 will be released very soon. – egreg Jun 5 '15 at 21:32
  • Thanks. I may do that if this problem ends up annoying me enough. I'm just not a big fan of the enormous size of the MacTeX distribution. – EB Mudd Jun 5 '15 at 22:02
  • Well, on the machine I'm using at the moment I have TL 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015/pretest (all installed via MacTeX). ;-) – egreg Jun 5 '15 at 22:03

I think I can answer the question(s) you ended up with as follows:

  1. BasicTeX is configured to exclude documentation as part of its install settings.
  2. TeX Live Utility will respect that original setting to exclude documentation when future packages are installed.

At some point, I'm planning to add a feature to TeX Live Utility that allows it to install the documentation, but for now, you're stuck doing it with the command line:


| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thanks! I ran sudo tlmgr option docfiles 1 at the command line as per the instructions in the link you included. This is getting TeX Live Utility to now download documentation when I (re)install packages. – EB Mudd Jun 13 '15 at 16:51

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