I am using TinyTex in Ubuntu. I like the "small and simple" philosophy of TinyTex, and it works really well with R and RStudio using RMarkdown.

But I have some documents I'd like to work with in the traditional LaTeX fashion. There was some pain in installing missing LaTeX packages, but I think I have all of the ones I need. My paper compiles and displays in TexWorks.

The problem I have is installing custom BST files for natbib. I can't for the life of me figure out where to put them so that TinyTex can see them. I've tried the same directory as the document, ~/.TinyTex/texmf-dist/bibtex/bst, ~/.TinyTex/texmf-local/bibtex/bst.

No matter where I put it, I get the following error when I try to compile with BibTex:

This is BibTeX, Version 0.99d (TeX Live 2020/Debian)
The top-level auxiliary file: ....
I couldn't open style file apsr.bst
---line 86 of file ...
 : \bibstyle{apsr
 :               }
I'm skipping whatever remains of this command
I found no style file---while reading file ...
(There were 2 error messages)

What can I do?

  • Isn't TinyTeX just a cut down TeX Live? Did you try ~/texmf/bibtex/bst/?
    – Joseph Wright
    Jul 19, 2021 at 14:00
  • @JosephWright yes but there's no such directory. just the two I mentioned -- /texmf-local and /texmf-dist
    – bshor
    Jul 19, 2021 at 15:40
  • Where are the other bst files located? Presumably you can put your custom style in that folder. kpsewhich plain.bst in the terminal should give you the location.
    – Marijn
    Jul 20, 2021 at 7:47
  • That sounds like a good way to go, but I don't have kpsewich! Ubuntu tells me I need to install texlive binaries ... what I wanted to avoid the whole time :)
    – bshor
    Jul 20, 2021 at 19:34
  • In that case just sudo find . -name "plain.bst" from root (cd /, not cd ~).
    – Marijn
    Jul 21, 2021 at 10:17

1 Answer 1


Yihui Xie (author of TinyTex) solved this problem here.

The issue is that I installed TinyTex first, and then I installed my LaTeX editor. When I did that, it automatically installed texlive for me, despite the fact that I had TinyTex installed already. So that when I was putting in these bst files into the TinyTex local directories, it was never seeing them!

The solution was to install my LaTeX editor with the --no-install-recommends option (on Ubuntu with apt) so that it didn't bring along texlive.

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