All of my previous Tex experience has been with the MiKTex distribution. However, I recently installed Ubuntu 21.10 and it appears that MiKTex is not compatible with this version of Ubuntu yet. Moreover, I have heard that TexLive is a better distribution overall for Linux users anyhow. So, my goal is to switch to TexLive. However, I would like to keep using the TexWorks editor because I am familiar with its keyboard shortcuts.

So far, I successfully installed TexLive and TexWorks using sudo apt-get install texlive and sudo apt-get install texworks.

However, when I open one of my documents in TexWorks and try to compile it, I get an error saying that the packages it needs are not installed:

! LaTeX Error: File `enumitem.sty' not found.

In MiKTex, when a package like this is missing, it just automatically installs the package for you as long as you are connected to the internet. How can I make TexLive do the same?

I would prefer not to do sudo apt-get install texlive-full if possible, because I do not need all the other language files etc. and am working on a small HD partition.

  • It doesn't say "automatically initialized", it says "initial setup step is necessary"...
    – user202729
    Jan 1, 2022 at 1:36
  • Searching for "user mode" in the page you linked has "Before using tlmgr in user mode, you have to set up the user tree with the init-usertree action." Maybe that's it?
    – user202729
    Jan 1, 2022 at 1:38
  • Searching around a bit there's askubuntu.com/questions/1352322/texlive-2021-tlmgr and tex.stackexchange.com/questions/605308/… – Not sure if it's the same, I don't use Ubuntu, but it seems that you have to configure some environment variable or something? Does Debian have a wiki/installation instruction or something?
    – user202729
    Jan 1, 2022 at 1:40
  • For the question in the title just see installing - Auto Package download for TeXLive - TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange
    – user202729
    Jan 1, 2022 at 1:42
  • you can query apt to see which ubuntu package has enumitem and install it via apt (rather than tlmgr) but really it's far easier to install texlive-full it's not that big by modern standards, if you are short of space choose to not install teh source or doc trees. Jan 1, 2022 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


First of, Ubuntu/Debian wants you to install stuff via their infrastructure. Thus they will change tlmgr to only be used for configuration, but not install packages as that will use a different infrastructure than Debians.[1]

[1]: I'd really like Debian to add a notice to their changed version of tlmgr explaining why tlmgr install ... does not work.

If one is not technically inclined, just use TeXLive from Debian/Ubuntu. If you have enough HD space, install texlive-full. If space is more limited learn to use the apt-file tool to figure out which Debian package a certain TeXLive package is in (via apt-file search file.sty). It is annoying but that is how it is. Generally HD space is cheap.

If more technically inclined, you can instead install the socalled upsteam TeXLive directly from the TL developers, see https://tug.org/texlive. Just remember you will have to manually add the new TeXLive to your PATH variable (do this in your .profile not just in .bashrc, log out and in again), remember the manually installed TL needs to come first on the PATH.

The upsteam TeXLive installer can install different schemes, which are collections of programmes and packages. The default is to install everything. But if space is limited, you can install a smaller scheme and supplement with extra packages or programmes later on. The installer also allows you to disable the installation of manuals.

Note that a TeXLive release only gets updates for about a year (especially due to the Windows support).

For more information see https://tug.org/texlive/doc/texlive-en/texlive-en.html

As mentioned: Installing upsteam TL requires that you know what you are doing and that you know Linux. If you don't, use Ubuntu TeXLive and live with the fackt that you cannot use texliveonfly with it.

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