How To: Install Tectonic

One of the big advantages that Tectonic offers compared to the traditional TeX stack is that all of Tectonic’s functionality is delivered in a single executable file — not the usual tree of thousands of interlocking data files and binary tools.

You have several options for obtaining the Tectonic executable. The best choice depends on your computing environment and your needs.

The copy-paste method should cover most use cases, but if you want better integration with your operating system or computing environment, packaged versions might make more sense. There should be no need to compile Tectonic yourself unless you want to, or you’re hoping to run it on an unusual platform.

Copy-paste a terminal command

This is generally the easiest way to get Tectonic onto your computer. On a computer running a Unix-like operating system, including macOS, just run the following command in your terminal:

curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -fsSL |sh

This will download the tectonic program and place it into the directory where you ran the command.

On Windows, you can do the same in a PowerShell window, which will unpack tectonic.exe for you:

[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol -bor 3072
iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(''))

No matter your operating system, you should probably move the unpacked file into a directory in your executable search path so that you can run Tectonic from any working directory. For the time being, the download script doesn’t do this because it can be tricky to automatically determine what the best installation destination would be.

Direct download

You can download the latest release of Tectonic here on GitHub. Each release is published with precompiled executables attached. Because Tectonic is distributed as a single executable, all you need to do is download the appropriate archive for your platform and unpack it.

For instance, on most Linux systems, you’ll want to download the file with the name looking like tectonic-<VERSION>-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu.tar.gz. This tarball will unpack to a single file, tectonic, which is the Tectonic executable.

Pre-built binary packages

Tectonic may be available in precompiled packages offered by either your operating system or standalone package managers. Check out the Tectonic source repository for an up-to-date listing.

In most cases, the package name will be tectonic and will provide a command-line tool also named tectonic.

Pre-built packages for (Ana)conda

Tectonic is available for the Conda package manager, which has the advantages of (1) not requiring any administrator privileges and (2) supporting Windows, macOS, and Linux. If you’d like to install Tectonic using a package manager and you’re not aware of a different option that’s a better fit for your needs, we recommend using Conda.

If you don’t already have Conda installed, we recommend that you install the “Miniconda” package provided by Anaconda, Inc.. Once complete, the command conda will now be available in your terminal.

Once the conda command is available, you can install Tectonic and its support libraries using conda-forge, a community-led Conda packaging project. To install Tectonic you must activate conda-forge, which can be done temporarily like so:

$ conda install -c conda-forge tectonic

Arch Linux

For users of Arch Linux, there are two Tectonic packages available: tectonic from the official repositories, which can be installed with

$ sudo pacman -S tectonic

and tectonic-git from the AUR.


There is a tectonic package in Homebrew. If you already have Homebrew installed, installing Tectonic should be as simple as:

$ brew install tectonic

We also have instructions about installing Tectonic’s dependencies using Homebrew if you’d like to compile Tectonic yourself on your Homebrew-based computer.


There is a tectonic port in MacPorts. If you already have MacPorts installed, installing Tectonic should be as simple as:

$ sudo port install tectonic

nix or nixOS

If you’re using nix, you can imperatively install tectonic with:

$ nix-env -f '<nixpkgs>' -iA tectonic

in your shell. You can also create a temporary environment using nix-shell:

$ nix-shell '<nixpkgs>' -A tectonic

Void Linux

Void Linux has a tectonic package in the void-packages repository. To install it, run:

$ sudo xbps-install -S tectonic

Compile Tectonic Yourself

You can always compile Tectonic yourself. If your system has C++ and Rust compilers installed, this may be as simple as running:

$ cargo install tectonic

However, Tectonic requires various C/C++ support libraries that may not be available on your system by default. There are also various build options that you can turn on and off if you have more specialized needs. For all the details, consult the How To Build Tectonic guide.