Installing LaTeX on Windows

In this guide, I will show you how to install the needed components of LaTeX on Windows. In this tutorial Windows 7 is used, but the steps will be similar for other versions.

Installing MiKTeX

MiKTeX is a free TeX distribution for Windows systems. The current version is MiKTeX 2.9. The survey starts at the MiKTeX website. In the menu, click on MiKTeX 2.9 and scroll down to download the MiKTeX 2.9 Net Installer. This is the installation file that will be used to download the MiKTeX distribution. Run the file once it is downloaded. The installation wizard of MiKTeX will now pop up.

First, agree with the copying conditions and click next. In the following window, click ‘Download MiKTeX’ to download the distribution to a directory on your computer. Again, click next. Next you will be prompted whether you want install Basic or Complete MiKTeX. I recommend you to download the complete distribution, since it will save a lot of time in the future. Note that the complete package is quite large (1.2 GB) and it takes a while to install. So you’ll need a steady internet connection and enough space on your hard-disk. The next thing you have to choose is the source where the package will be downloaded from. Search for a source that is located in your country, or nearby. After you click next you’ll have to choose a directory where MiKTeX will be installed. This was the last step, the downloading will now begin. Note that this installation will take a while.

Once its finished, navigate to the directory where you’ve installed MiKTeX. There are a lot, really a lot, of files here. However, there is only one .exe file. Run this file (called setup-2.9.3959.exe for this version). This time, the real installation of MiKTeX will take place. This process will again be quite lengthy.

Installing the editor

In order to actually compile LaTeX documents, we need an editor. For windows, the most used editors are probably TeXnicCenter and Texmaker. I might add an overview of all editors in the future, but that is not where this tutorial is about. Personally, I like Texmaker the most, so let’s install that editor right away!

On the Texmaker website, go to the download section to download Texmaker for Windows. The current version is 2.2.1. We’re going to download the Executable file (.exe). When the downloading is complete, don’t run the installation wizard! Wait for the MiKTeX installation to be completed. This way, Texmaker will automatically configure the settings for you. Once you’re ready to install Texmaker, agree to the GPL license by clicking ‘I Agree’ and choose a directory to install the editor. Done! Wow, that was fast :-)

The installation of LaTeX is now complete. A guide to create your first document might be added in the future. For now, here are some references.