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< Installation hints | TeX Distributions >

NOTE: The officially recommended way of installing ConTeXt on all platforms is using ConTeXt Suite

Look before you leap

Most TeX Distributions include an installation of ConTeXt already. To see if it's installed on your system run

context --version

If it is not installed, there are two important considerations.

  • Do you want a ConTeXt distribution or do you want a TeX distribution (plain TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and lots of other goodies)?
  • Do you want a stable version of ConTeXt, or do you want the beta or bleeding edge versions? Remember that ConTeXt gets updated frequently.

If you are on a Linux system, there is also a third consideration: Do you want a distribution package, or do you want your own local TeX installation.


select your operating system

Unix (linux/bsd/...)

In decreasing order of simplicity, here are a few options:

  • (simplest) If you distribution supports TeX Live packages, use them. Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Gentoo, Fedora, Arch and Mandriva (if not too old) do so. See Debian installation or Ubuntu.
  • Otherwise, use a fresh TeX Live installation. The problem with this method is that you'll probably have to redo the installation once a year, when the new TeX Live DVD comes out.

If you will use TeX Live, you have to delete the distribution-provided teTeX packages (if they exist).

If you are running an rpm-based distribution (RedHat, Fedora, Mandrake, Mandriva etc.), then you can most easily uninstall them like so:

  rpm --qa | grep tetex
  rpm --erase <package-names>

rpm's dependencies will tell you what other TeX-related packages are installed but don't have 'tetex' in their names!

FreeBSD also still contains teTeX in its ports distribution (with many dependencies). These packages can be deleted as follows:

  pkg_info | grep tetex
  pkg_delete tetex\*

Note, however, that teTeX will again be pulled-in by other packages, for example if options installing formatted documentation are activated.

  • Alternatively, if you need just ConTeXt and no LaTeX, you can use the ConTeXt Standalone installation. The ConTeXt Standalone installation does not require the de-installation of other TeX distributions and can be used in parallel.

Debian / (K)Ubuntu

Debian_TeXlive_install (Debian/linux and Debian/kfreebsd)


Detils for Fedora version 11, 12 and 13 are at Fedora Project Wiki TeX Live page maintained by Jindrich Novy. The repository provides a snapshot of TeX Live 2010 tlpretest, and it includes very new ConTeXt packages and requires absolutely no manual configuration to get working Mk II and Mk IV. Highly recommended.


If you are using funtoo there are ebuilds that will make an installation as easy as installing any other package from portage. Take a look at the ConTeXt Standalone Funtoo Howto. This might also work for gentoo, but is untested right now.


OpenSUSE (starting from 10.3beta3) comes with TeX Live and offers also XeTeX. 10.3b3 contains ConTeXt 2007.01.12.

You can search for OpenSUSE packages online In OpenSUSE 11.3 there are two packages available.

  • texlive-context-2010-33.1.noarch.rpm
  • texlive-context-2009-26.1.noarch.rpm


FreeBSD still relies on teTeX in the ports collection. Alternately, TeXlive is now available as a branch extension, see [1] and [2], until migration to the main ports branch is completed.

TeX Live as a standalone installation will run "out of the box" on all recent versions of freeBSD (7, 8, 9) and extended support is available for earlier versions; The ConTeXt Standalone installation is compiled for the latest stable release (currently 8.2).


Mac OS X


There are two main TeX distributions for Windows wich contain a stable context

  • MikTeX (currently ConTeXt support is broken)
  • TeX Live (provides stable ConTeXt)

Use ConTeXt Suite, if you want up to date ConTeXt.

Installation from source

external manuals on installation