I know this has been a question many times asked/answered. But I have still difficulty to understand because TeX Live has different tree on Mac and is available also on Linux.

The question is simple:

I want to install, on MacTeX 2011, the beta version of Microtype package (for use with pdfTeX): microtype package (beta) on TLContrib

On the page there is 3 zip to download:

  • microtype.tar.xz
  • microtype.doc.tar.xz
  • microtype.source.tar.xz

Which one should I pick? And where should I place it? (here: /Users/myname/Library/texlive/2011/texmf-var ?)

Should I issue some commands on the Terminal like those proposed on this post.

I also want to be able to (easily) revert to the stable package in case I got some issues with the beta package.

  • 2
    Did you read tlcontrib.metatex.org/usage.html? You should not be downloading stuff directly from TLcontrib: the entire idea is that you use it as an alternative repository to let tlmgr install material. – Joseph Wright Oct 24 '11 at 12:53
  • Yes I was having read the information page but this has lead to confusion in my mind. For example, will this update many packages, what will happens if I go back to the original repository, will I be able to revert to the stable version ... If I have well understand, packages will be placed on the normal tex folder, so I have prefered placing the beta version in my personal texmf folder. Thanks for your advice anyway. – youyou Oct 29 '11 at 3:20
  • Important note. The current version of the package microtype is 2.5a, released 2013/05/23, so there's no need (if a recent TeX distribution is used) to download the mentioned beta version. – egreg Mar 5 '15 at 11:52

As Mike stated you’ll need an aditional app to unpack the files. You may install these XZ Utils (which is part of TeX Live and therefore MacTeX too) and then you can type in your termial

xz -d /Path/to/File/microtype.tar.xz 

to get the .tar which you can unpack by double clicking it in the Finder.

For own packages there is the user texmf folder (usually <Your User>/library/texmf/) an in there tex/latex/ where you can put the files. These files are preferred by (La)TeX to the files in the distribution folders. If you want to switch back just delete the files in user-texmf.

To find out the right path you cant type

kpsewhich -var-value=TEXMFHOME

to the terminal. Note that kpsewhich gives the path but you maybe have to create this folder manually.

If you have only a .ins and .dtx file run latex <filename>.ins to get the .sty oder .cls and pdflatex <filename>.dtx to get the manual.

  • You may need to install a different program to extract the files, unless MacTeX came with something to uncompress .xz files. Google indicates that the Unarchiver would work for this. – Mike Renfro Oct 24 '11 at 0:38
  • 2
    Everybody who has TeX Live also has xz: /usr/local/texlive/2011/tlpkg/installer/xz/xz.universal-darwin – egreg Oct 24 '11 at 12:25
  • Thanks for all. My problem was that I tried to make life difficult. Your command kpsewhich -var-value=TEXMFHOME helped me a lot to realize that my "personal folder" was <Your User>/library/texmf/ even if it wasn't on my library. I have then created it and I've placed the content of the microtype.tar.xz. All is working like a charm and thanks to you it was very easy. – youyou Oct 29 '11 at 3:02

As Joseph said, the preferred method for installing packages in TLContrib is through a package manager.

On Mac, you can use nice Tex Live Utility, which is installed with MacTeX by default.

Paste http://tlcontrib.metatex.org/2011 into address field (or into the Server URL field in Preferences in the old version of TLU) and refresh.

  • Thanks for your help. I'm sure your method works but I prefered choose the other method to be sure that I can revert to the stable version easily. Anyway I keep your answer in mind to test it in the future. Thanks. – youyou Oct 29 '11 at 3:06

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