Due to compatibility issues with my template files, I have to use previous versions of Biber 2.3 and BibLaTeX 3.2 (MacTeX 2016), which I downloaded from source forge. But I have found no install instruction I could understand, and the forum and support are now gone from sourceforge. I have used TeXlive so far, so I don't know how to manually install them.

Update: I realize now by comments that previous versions may not be fully supported by new distribution in the long run.

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    @moewe I certainly wouldn't overwrite it in situ. It should be installed in PATH so that it is found before the version installed by TeX Live. @ OP Are you about to submit or close to a similar deadline? If so, this kind of workaround makes sense. If not, it would be better to update the templates. Did you delete MacTeX 2015 when you installed MacTeX 2016? If not, you can just switch back to the 2015 version.
    – cfr
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 12:47
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    You can install biblatex in your local texmf tree as described in the links above (if you have trouble with that, please specify exactly what you tried and how it didn't work for you). Biber you should place in the PATH (so that it is found before the current version of Biber from TeX Live), how to do that I cannot tell you since I don't use a Mac (maybe you can find info on that elsewhere on the web, here, for example, the command which can help you).
    – moewe
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 15:18
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    Are you close to a deadline? How temporary is this? There is, of course, no guarantee this will work since there have also been changes in LaTeX and packages which Biblatex relies on. But it will probably work at least short term. What does echo $PATH give?
    – cfr
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 15:19
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    Just for the sake of completeness, it is very likely that your "template" has compatibility issues because of the new name format: Biblatex 3.3 name formatting describes the changes and the needed modifications. If you need help with it, you can of course ask a new question. (Adapting the template or abandoning it for a newer one is definitely the better long-term solution than downgrading.)
    – moewe
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 15:47
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    Certainly don't adjust Biber/Biblatex! That is the worst possible option. Best is updating the templates. Second best is reverting to earlier Biber/Biblatex. Trying to change current Biber/Biblatex is not even third best - it is just not really an option.
    – cfr
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


Note that manual installation of Biblatex and Biber is not recommended except in exceptional circumstances.

Such circumstances include:

  • you've been bitten by a bug which is fixed in a newer version, you need the fix urgently and you will remember to undo the manual installation at the appropriate time (and you'll recognise when that is);

  • you have been foolish enough to update your TeX distribution right before a deadline, have no roll-back plan and the update has broken your bibliography, you plan to fix the real problem after the deadline and will remember to undo the manual installation at that time.

In all other cases, the best course is to update your document or other packages to use the new Biblatex/Biber or to wait for the fixed version to be available through your normal update routine.

Note that there is no guarantee that rolling back Biblatex/Biber will work with an updated TeX distribution, although it is likely in most cases to work in the short term.

Caveat emptor ...

If you are sure you want to do this, then proceed as follows. These instructions assume you are using TeX Live on a Unix-ish system (Mac OS X, BSD, GNU/Linux etc.).

You need to download matching versions of Biber and Biblatex from SourceForge: Biber and Biblatex.

At the command line (e.g. Terminal for OS X users), navigate to the directory you downloaded the files to.

ls *.tgz *.gz

should show you a file named biblatex-<version>.tds.tgz and another named biber-<arch>.tar.gz where <version> is the version you need of Biblatex and <arch> matches the architecture of your OS.

mv biblatex-<version>.tds.tgz $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFHOME)
pushd $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFHOME)
tar -xzf biblatex-<version>.tds.tgz
kpsewhich biblatex.sty

The last command should return a file in you personal TEXMF tree and not in the main TEXMF tree. It should be somewhere in your home directory.

mkdir -p ~/bin
tar -xzf biber-<arch>.tar.gz

This should produce a biber binary, possibly in a sub-directory.

mv <sub-directory>/biber ~/bin/

To use your downloaded copy of Biber, use ~/bin/biber <filename> rather than biber <filename>, to make sure you get the correct one. (You could adjust your PATH to automate this, but it is not worth it for a very short-term temporary workaround.)

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