Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
George Mason University Infoguides | University Libraries
See Updates and FAQss for the latest library services updates.

LaTeX & BibTeX Resources

This guide highlights resources to use to learn about LaTeX and create documents using it. It is especially helpful with papers containing mathematical expressions.

How do I install the software?

TeX Distribution

First, you need a TeX Distribution (Required). A tex distribution is a collection of software that supports the TeX typesetting system

The TeX Distribution and engine do the typesetting work. A TeX Distribution must always be installed first. For Windows, choose either MiKTeX or TeX Live. For Macs, choose MacTeX. For Linux, choose TeX Live.

Front End or Editor

Next, you need a Front End or Editor (Recommended).

There are many great editors. Choose the one that suits your needs best. My favorite for Windows and Linux is TeXStudio. My favorite for Mac OS is TeXShop. Users will discuss what editors that they like best and why they like them on forums, blogs, and Wikipedia. Try a Google search on LaTeX editors.

My Favorite for Windows and Linux

My Favorite for Mac OS

Where do I go to get packages?

For publisher class files, many can be found at the publisher's Web site (author guides). However, some publisher class files are kept up-to-date at the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN). Many other packages can be found there as well.

Installing LaTeX Packages for MikTeX on Windows (video, 2:05)

Demonstrates how to install packages that don't install on the fly with MikTeX.

Note: Select 720p from settings button if possible.

Is the video not visible? Check your browser compatibility. opens new window

If your browser is compatible, try the video, Installing LaTeX Packages for MikTeX on Windows, on YouTube.

LaTeX Documentation for Beginners



What is BibTeX?

BibTeX is a macro that enables one to add references to their LaTeX document. The information about the references are stored in a .bib file.

A BibTeX style file (.bst) applies a citation style to the LaTeX document. Quite often these files are included when you install new class files. There are packages that can apply a citation style too.

BibTeX is installed with every TeX distribution.

  • The good

    BibTeX was developed shortly after the TeX typesetting system, so it is stable.

  • The bad

    The macro is old and hasn't been updated much.

  • The ugly

    BibTeX doesn't use modern encoding standards, so it can have trouble with some languages.

However, biber can be used to extend language support of BibTeX. It must be used in conjunction with the biblatex package. TeX distributions include biber and bibtex.sty with them.