I've created a custom theme for beamer that I plan to use for multiple presentations. So, while I currently have the .sty file (just one at this point, as I load an inner theme and color theme, then define the outer theme) in the same directory as the presentation I'm working on now, I want it available in the future without have to maintain multiple copies.

From this question, I understand I can install packages in my home texmf folder (e.g. ~/texmf on Linux, which is where I do most of my work), however should I then structure my texmf folder like the beamer subdirectory in the main texmf folder (i.e. /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/beamer/themes/[color,font,inner,outer,theme] on my Ubuntu machine), or just put put down any/all .sty files in the single directory.

Note, while I mentioned I do most of my work on Linux, answers for OS X and Windows would be useful, as I do work on both of these platforms as well - and frequently sync files between machines via Git repositories.

2 Answers 2


You should copy the first two folder levels of the main tree (in your example tex/latex). Everything below this point is optional. You can use additional subfolders and name them at your liking. Use your sense of order. I would certainly make at least a subfolder "beamer".

  • Thanks - good to know the rest of the tree past tex/latex is not necessary.
    – runexe
    Sep 8, 2010 at 16:45

I was having the same trouble and fix it differently. Two main things to know :
- the beamer command \usetheme is indeed the same as \usepackage apart from the fact that it concatenates the argument with beamertheme
- you can specify backward directories to \usepackage with ../

Using these two points you only need to know the relative path from your .tex to your .sty; and then can organise the stuff easily.

A quick example: on a given drive D, you have your .tex in D:/beamer/files and you put some themes in D:/beamer/themes, then to use a given theme mytheme from the file beamerthememytheme.sty in D:/beamer/themes, you add in the .tex file \usepackage{../themes/beamerthememytheme} instead of \usetheme{mytheme}

not sure if it works on windows however

  • 3
    Could you please have a look to the comments here about this approach? Nov 26, 2014 at 13:55
  • 2
    +1 for the clear explanation of the command \usetheme Nov 7, 2017 at 12:28

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