[latex, tex, lyx, installation, software, configuration, paper, writing, text, typesetting]

LaTeX is a great typesetting system that includes a lot of features that allow to produce scientific documents. Many researchers use LaTeX to produce their papers and presentations, and many journals require authors to hand in their articles in a LaTeX format.

Installing a TeX distribution

LaTeX is free to use. To use the LaTeX system, a TeX distribution needs to be installed. Detailed instructions for the different platforms are provided below.

After following the instructions, check whether everything worked by checking the output of the following command:

tex --version

This should give an output similar to this one, where version numbers and details will change depending on your platform.

TeX 3.14159265 (TeX Live 2019/Debian)
kpathsea version 6.3.1
Copyright 2019 D.E. Knuth.
There is NO warranty.  Redistribution of this software is
covered by the terms of both the TeX copyright and
the Lesser GNU General Public License.
For more information about these matters, see the file
named COPYING and the TeX source.
Primary author of TeX: D.E. Knuth.


For Windows Users

Download the file install-tl-windows.exe from here and follow the instructions.


For Mac Users

You can install this using Homebrew or via the official website:

brew cask install mactex

For Linux Users (Ubuntu-based)

Install it from the terminal using:

sudo apt-get install texlive-latex-extra

Note that additional packages for Tex Live should be installed through the apt package manager as well (using tlmgr leads to problems due to different versions)

Using LyX, a LaTeX Alternative

Installing Lyx

Lyx is an open source document processor based on the LaTeX. Download Lyx.

Making Lyx Available on the Command Prompt

You have just installed Lyx and may need to access Lyx from the command line.

Windows users

For you to be able to use Lyx from the command prompt, follow the steps below.


Making Lyx available via the PATH settings on Windows

We need to update our PATH settings; these settings are a set of directories that Windows uses to “look up” software to startup.

  • Right-click on Computer.
  • Go to “Properties” and select the tab “Advanced System settings”.
  • Choose “Environment Variables” and select Path from the list of system variables.
  • Choose Edit.
    • Environment variable name: LYX_BIN

    • Windows 7 and 8 machines: If you chose the default installation directory, copy and paste the following string without spaces at the start or end:

      c:\Program Files (x86)\Lyx

    • Windows 10 machines:

      • Click New and paste the following string:

      c:\Program Files (x86)\Lyx

      • Click on OK as often as needed.

Mac users

For you to be able to use Lyx from the command line, you have to add Lyx to your environmental variables. A tutorial follows.


Making Lyx available via the PATH settings on Mac

  • open Terminal
  • type vi ~/.bash_profile
  • add Lyx to the environmental varibles
    • type i to input mode of vim
    • add export LYX_BIN=/Applications/LyX.app/Contents/MacOS/lyx.
    • press esc and type :w to save the change
    • close the ternimal and reopen one terminal. Then type source ~/.bash_profile to bring the new .bash_profile into effect.
  • type $LYX_BIN to check availability. Remember to type the $ before LYX_BIN.

Verifying that the installation was successful

To verify that Lyx has been correctly installed and configured via your PATH settings, open a new terminal interface and enter:


followed by hitting the Return key.