How to install LaTex on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux

Latex is a document writing system, which is especially useful for writing mathematical equations. The objective of this tutorial is to provide reader with instructions on how to install LaTeX on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to install LaTeX
  • How to compile a basic Latex document from a command line

LaTex on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux

LaTex on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux

Software Requirements and Conventions Used

Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Installed or upgraded Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Software LaTex
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

How to install LaTex on Ubuntu 20.04 step by step instructions

Ubuntu repository consist of various meta packages from which each targets different type of a LaTeX user. Below you can find the most common installation packages for LaTeX and their approximate disk space requirements based on Ubuntu 20.04 with minimal installation selected:

  • texlive-base – 160 MB
  • texlive-latex-recommended – 203 MB
  • texlive – 269 MB
  • texlive-latex-extra – 464 MB
  • texlive-full – 5903 MB

The first package texlive-base will install just the basics to get you started with LaTeX. texlive or texlive-latex-extra is most likely the best way to get started for most users.

However, our package selection is only motivated by the requirement for the least disk space consumed after the LaTeX installation. If you have plenty of space and a good download speed nothing stops you to go for texlive-full package. But be aware that this package will fetch the whole lot, including, but not limited to, eg. Japanese language pack.

Furthermore, Ubuntu offers more profession targeted package selections such as:

  • texlive-publishers
  • texlive-science
  • texlive-pstricks
  • texlive-pictures
  • texlive-metapost
  • texlive-music
  • texlive-xetex
  • texlive-luatex
  • texlive-games
  • texlive-humanities

  1. Regardless of your package choice you can install LaTeX by use of the apt command. The following linux command will install the LaTeX package: texlive-latex-extra. Replace the package name with the one you wish to install, open up terminal and enter:
    $ sudo apt install texlive-latex-extra

    That is all.

  2. Now, that we have LaTeX installed let’s just confirm the installation by compiling a simple LaTeX code.Open up any text editor like for example gedit, enter the following code and save as hello-world.tex:
    Hello world \LaTeX

    Once you have the above LaTeX code saved use the pdflatex command to compile it to PDF. If the pdflatex command is available on your system you will need to install texlive-extra-utils before you can use it:

    $ pdflatex hello-world.tex

  3. The above step will compile your hello-world.tex to hello-world.pdf. Next, start Evince PDF viewer to see the result:
    $ evince hello-world.pdf
  4. Compiled Latex document

    Compiled Latex document
  5. (optional) Install a LateX editor and compiler for an easy LateX document editing and compilation.