As given on https://www.tug.org/texlive/doc/tlmgr.html , tlmgr can be used to install packages. Where does it store these packages? Because then I can copy them to another machine for installation rather than downloading them every time. Thanks for your help.

Edit: I am using Debian Stable Linux.

  • In texmf-dist/tex/latex/ you'll find the latex packages.
    – TeXnician
    Jul 15, 2017 at 15:07
  • 1
    The tlmgr packages are stored in the repository as xz-compressed tarballs. After they are downloaded, they're expanded and then removed from the local machine. As far as I can see, there is no option for keeping them, but it's rather easy to set up an rsync mirror.
    – egreg
    Jul 15, 2017 at 15:23
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    Copies of updated packages are kept as backups by tlmgr, though that's obviously not what you want. If you have 2 machines with the architecture, you can simply copy the entire installation from one to the other.
    – cfr
    Jul 15, 2017 at 16:58
  • Once you're installed on one machine, tlmgr backup --all will make a backup copy of all packages installed on that machine. These are stored in the form of the .xz compressed archives @egreg mentioned. However, these must be created from the installed versions. I assume you could then install them on a second machine, but I'd also assume they may not be identical to those you download initially. However, I'm not sure about this. @egreg might know, though.
    – cfr
    Jul 15, 2017 at 17:33
  • I forgot to mention I am using Linux. Is there a particular folder where the xz compressed tarballs are stored in Linux?
    – rnso
    Jul 16, 2017 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


I am trying to answer this very unclear question:

  • if you are asking where tlmgr installs the packages to, then it is the path relative to the location of tlmgr two levels up. So if the tlmgr binary is in /a/b/c/bin/x86_64-linux/tlmgr, then it will install packages into /a/b/c.
  • if you are asking where tlmgr saves downloaded packages (like latex.tar.xz etc), then this is a temporary directory that will disappear after installation. Packages are not kept for reuse.
  • if you are asking where tlmgr saves backups of packages before doing updates, then this is again relative to the location of the tlmgr binary, two levels up and then tlpkg/backup, but this can be configured with tlmgr.

Hope that helps

  • Thanks for a very clear answer. I had meant option 2 (where tlmgr saves downloaded packages).
    – rnso
    Jul 16, 2017 at 13:36

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