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You can read the licence (Creative Commons GNU GPL for program code, and Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike for documentation).


The general steps to install ConTeXt LMTX are as follows:

  1. Create a directory for ConTeXt.
  2. Download the platform-specific archive file into the ConTeXt directory.
  3. Unpack the archive.
  4. Execute the install program, which downloads the distribution.
  5. Update the PATH environment variable.
  6. Generate cache
  7. Optionally, delete the archive file.

See the next sections for instructions specific to various platforms.


The steps in this section show how to download and install ConTeXt for a 64-bit Linux system. Change the archive file download link as needed for your target platform. Open a new terminal then run the following commands:

  1. mkdir $HOME/context and cd $HOME/context
  2. wget
  3. unzip
  4. sh
  5. Update the PATH environment variable by using the path instructions displayed when the install program finishes. The instructions will vary depending on the type of shell being used:
    • Bash: echo 'export PATH=...instructions...:$PATH' >> ~/.bashrc
    • Zsh: echo 'export PATH=...instructions...:$PATH' >> ~/.zshenv
    • Sh/Ksh: echo 'export PATH=...instructions...:$PATH' >> ~/.profile
    • Tcsh/csh: echo 'set path = ($path ...instructions...)' >> ~/.cshrc
    • For example, if ConTeXt was downloaded into $HOME/context on a system running bash, then the following line would update the PATH environment variable: echo 'export PATH=$HOME/context/tex/texmf-linux-64/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.bashrc
  6. Then generate the cache with mtxrun --generate.
  7. rm


The instructions for MacOS are the same as for Unix, but note that:

  • MacOS versions from Catalina (10.15) and newer use Zsh by default.
  • MacOS versions before Catalina use Bash by default.
  • You might need to de-quarantine the binaries (and sometimes every created PDF):
    • sudo xattr -r -d bin/mtxrun
    • sudo xattr -r -d tex/texmf-osx-64/bin/*


Complete the following steps to set up ConTeXt on Windows:

  1. Create a directory for ConTeXt, such as C:\context.
  2. Download the architecture-specific version into the ConTeXt directory.
  3. Extract the archive.
  4. Run: install.bat
  5. Run: setpath.bat
  6. Then generate the cache with the command mtxrun --generate in a command prompt.
  7. Delete the file archive file context-*win*.zip.

Check the installation

Make sure that ConTeXt is installed on your system. To check that, go to the command prompt and type

  context --version

You should get an output as follows:

  mtx-context     | ConTeXt Process Management 1.06
  mtx-context     |
  mtx-context     | main context file: /home/myuser/context/tex/texmf-context/tex/context/base/mkiv/context.mkiv
  mtx-context     | current version: 2024.04.01 08:59
  mtx-context     | main context file: /home/myuser/context/tex/texmf-context/tex/context/base/mkxl/context.mkxl
  mtx-context     | current version: 2024.04.01 08:59


Re-run the install program to upgrade, which will update the distribution incrementally:

  • Windows: install.bat
  • GNU/Linux or macOS: sh

First document

Creation of a first ConTeXt file

Open a text editor, type the following content, and save the file as doc01.tex:

\startsection[title={Testing ConTeXt}]
This is my first ConTeXt document.

Compilation of the ConTeXt file to PDF file

Go to the command-line and type:

context doc01

ConTeXt will then process your document, display some logging information on the console, and generate a doc01.pdf output file.

resolvers       | formats | executing runner 'run luametatex format': /home/myuser/context/tex/texmf-linux-64/bin/luametatex --jobname="./doc01.tex" --socket --shell-escape --fmt=/home/myuser/context/tex/texmf-cache/luametatex-cache/context/5fe67e0bfe781ce0dde776fb1556f32e/formats/luametatex/cont-en.fmt --lua=/home/myuser/context/tex/texmf-cache/luametatex-cache/context/5fe67e0bfe781ce0dde776fb1556f32e/formats/luametatex/cont-en.lui  --c:currentrun=1 --c:fulljobname="./doc01.tex" --c:input="./doc01.tex" --c:kindofrun=1 --c:maxnofruns=9 --c:texmfbinpath="/home/myuser/context/tex/texmf-linux-64/bin"
system          > 
system          > ConTeXt  ver: 2024.04.01 08:59 LMTX  fmt: 2024.4.13  int: english/english
system          > 


mkiv lua stats  > used engine: luametatex version: 2.11.02, functionality level: 20240311, format id: 700, compiler: gcc
mkiv lua stats  > tex properties: 807100 hash slots used of 2097152, 51019 control sequences, approximate memory usage: 42 MB
mkiv lua stats  > lua properties: engine: lua 5.5, used memory: 57 MB, ctx: 54 MB, max: 54 MB, symbol mask: utf (τεχ)
mkiv lua stats  > runtime: 0.617 seconds, 1 processed pages, 1 shipped pages, 1.620 pages/second
system          | total runtime: 1.989 seconds of 2.052 seconds

Viewing the generated PDF file

Open the generated doc01.pdf PDF file using a PDF viewer. It should look as follows:

Note that the section has been numbered, the section number and the section title appear in a slightly larger fonts.

Your installation is now up and running: you can start working on the Tutorials.

Additional instructions