A friend of mine installed TeX Live 2020 but get error when running texdoc amsmath:

$ texdoc amsmath
texdoc error: No texlive.tlpdb nor shipped tlpdb data found.

Searching on Google doesn't help, so I post this question here.

BTW, I found /systems/texlive/tlnet/tlpkg/texlive.tlpdb on CTAN root, but I do not know how it can help my friend.

Any clues would be appreciated.

Here is the installation procedure:

  • Download texlive2020 distribution from Tsinghua University mirror repository.
  • Then, sudo ./install.sh and wait for the installation to complete
  • After installation, import latex into the system path to compile .tex file in terminal.

After the installation is complete, the texdoc command has no problems. It was just suddenly discovered that it could not be used a few days later.

No config files have been deleted.

  • tlpdb stands for (I think:-) tex live package data base, it is the main control file for the texlive package installation, it lists every package in texlive and whether you have it installed or not, which texlive mirror repository you use and lots of other details. The texlive installation seems broken if it is not there. Apr 28, 2020 at 7:42
  • Thanks @DavidCarlisle , every time I ask a question, you are there waiting for me. lol. So it comes to be the next question: is there any solution to fix this? What if I download it from CTAN and place it in the folder TEXMFDIST/tlpkg?
    – Ch'en Meng
    Apr 28, 2020 at 7:58
  • It's impossible to guess how you got in that position, the file on ctan is no use, the file is a local file that records which packages are installed on that machine it should be /usr/local/texlive/2020/tlpkg/texlive.tlpdb if your texlive tree starts at /usr/local/texlive/2020 but don't edit it by hand or you will completely confuse the texlive package manager. What exactly did your friend install. vanilla texlive from TUG or a linux distribution texlive ? (not all of which use tlmgr I believe) Apr 28, 2020 at 8:36

2 Answers 2


I hit this same problem when updating from MacOS 10.14 to 10.15. It turned out that I had to upgrade MacPorts as a result, and when doing so, MacPorts put /opt/local/bin in the front of the PATH, so the wrong version of texdoc was called. No idea if that's any help for you, but you could try running which texdoc to check that you are running the texdoc that you think you are.


I had the same problem with a guix installation of texlive on linux. This is how I fixed it:

  • locate texlive.tlpdb
  • copy it to my local texmf tree: cp $(locate texlive.tlpdb) ~/texmf/
  • create a texdoc directory there: mkdir ~/texmf/texdoc
  • copy the texdoc config file there: cp $(kpsewhich -var-value=TEXMFDIST)/texdoc/texdoc.cnf ~/texmf/texdoc/
  • edit texdoc.cnf and add the following line: texlive_tlpdb = ~/texmf/texlive.tlpdb

It now seems to work fine.

  • Welcome to TeX.SE!
    – Mensch
    Oct 9, 2021 at 10:58
  • I have installed texlive with pamac from Manjaro's extra repo and I have no texlive.tlpdb in my system. Jan 29, 2023 at 13:06

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