To aid the archiving and retrieval of of TeX-related files, a TUG working group developed the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN). Each CTAN site has identical material, and maintains authoritative versions of its material. These collections are extensive; in particular, almost everything mentioned in this article is archived at the CTAN sites, even if its location isn't explicitly stated.
The CTAN sites are currently
The organisation of TeX files on all
these sites is identical and starts at
tex-archive/. To reduce network load, please use the CTAN site
or mirror closest to you. A complete and current list of CTAN sites
and known mirrors can be obtained by using the finger utility on
email@example.com; it is
also available as file
To find software at a CTAN site, use anonymous
ftp to the host,
and then execute the command `
quote site index <term>' (see
finding files for details).
The email server
firstname.lastname@example.org provides an
ftp-like interface through
mail. Send a message containing just the line `
help' to your
nearest server for details of use.
Users on BITNET may access anonymous
ftp for some files
indirectly by sending mail to
BITFTP@PUCC.BITNET. Send a
message containing the line `
help' to this address for more
There is also the DECUS TeX collection of
material for VMS, Unix, MS-DOS, and the Macintosh.
It is available via anonymous
wuarchive.wustl.edu (22.214.171.124) in
decus/tex/. It can also be obtained from the DECUS Library
(reference number VS0058) in the US, or through your DECUS office
outside of the US. To contact the DECUS Library, send mail or telephone:
DECUSor send electronic mail for information to the DECUS TeX Collection Editor, Ted Nieland (
LIBRARY ORDER PROCESSING
334 South Street, SHR3-1/T25
Shrewsbury, MA 01545-4195
Tel: 800-DECUS55 (within the USA, for information)
Fax: (+1) 508-841-3373 (for inquiries)
Finally, of course, the TeX user who has no access to any sort of network may buy a copy of the archive on CD-ROM (see TeX CD-ROMs).
ftp to any CTAN archive
(see sources of software) and retrieve
README.uploads in the root directory. It contains
instructions for uploading files and notifying the appropriate people
for that site.
If you cannot use
ftp, mail your contribution to
ctan@urz.Uni-Heidelberg.de and it will be passed along. You will make
everyone's life easier if you choose a descriptive and unique name for
your submission, so it's probably a good idea to check that your style
file's name is not already in use by means of the
command (finding files in the archives).
A comprehensive list of METAFONT fonts is posted to
comp.fonts and to
every six weeks, by Lee Quin (
email@example.com); it is available
The list contains details both of commercial fonts and of fonts
available via anonymous
ftp. Most of the fonts are available via
ftp from the CTAN archives
(see sources of software).
If you don't have access to the Internet, there are obvious attractions to TeX collections on a CD-ROM. Even those with net access will find large quantities of TeX-related files to hand a great convenience.
Ready-to-run TeX systems on CD-ROM are available:
On-line details of TeX Live are available at
An alternative to the ready-to-run system is the CTAN archive snapshot; in general one would expect that such systems would be harder to use, but that the volume of resources offered would balance this extra inconvenience.
Walnut Creek CDROM provide a two-disc CD-ROM set, holding
1000Mb of TeX-related material. Information about the CD-ROM is
http://www.cdrom.com/titles/prog/tex.html, which also
has a link to an ordering page. Walnut Creek's address, etc., are:
Walnut Creek CDROMWalnut Creek (who run one of the major CTAN mirrors) are rumoured to be producing a new release of their disc set in 1997.
4041 Pike Lane, Ste D-www
Concord, CA 94520
Tel: (+1) 510 674-0783 or 800 786-9907 (within the USA and Canada)
Fax: (+1) 510 674-0821
firstname.lastname@example.org(for questions) and
Prime Time Freeware produced TeXcetera 1.1 in July 1994, which was a snapshot of CTAN taken in June 1994. Regular updates were planned (but have not apparently been forthcoming). The material is all compressed in ZIP format to fit it all on one CD, and to avoid the limitations of the ISO 9660 file system directory. You can buy the CD from:
Prime Time Freewareor from many CD-ROM resellers, or the TUG office. Price will be around $60. Please note that PTF is not a big commercial firm, and is a good friend of the TeX community.
370 Altair Way, Suite 150
Sunnyvale CA 94086
Tel: (+1) 408 433 9662
Fax: (+1) 408 433 0727