How to Install Custom LaTeX Extensions with MacTeX

When writing articles for conferences, authors are often supplied with custom layout templates, classes, bibliography styles etc. for LaTeX. The most common file extensions of these files are:

  • .cls – Class files to add new document classes
  • .bst – BibTeX Style files to format your bibliography
  • .sty – Style files containing LaTeX macros

Using those files documents are created according to the style guidelines of the conference proceedings / journals the article will be published in. When using MacTeX on Mac OS X, the proper location for custom extensions is:


where ~ ist your user home folder. I particularly needed this to install the LaTeX template for Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS), which are available here. After copying the whole llncs folder into ~/Library/texmf/tex/latex/, I could use the class in my LaTeX environment like this:


Happy publishing ūüôā

Installing LaTeX, Eclipse and TeXlipse on Mac OS X

LaTeX is an essential typesetting language for scientific papers and presentations. In this blog post I will explain how to install a complete LaTeX environment on your mac based on MacTex, Eclipse and TeXlipse. These components form a very powerful IDE for writing documents with LaTeX.

Installing a LaTeX distribution

The recommended LaTeX distribution to install on OS X is MacTex. Just follow the link, download the (very large!) installation bundle and execute it.

Installing Eclipse

Eclipse is a very powerful software platform, allowing to install plugins in order to assemble a flexible and powerful IDE. Download Eclipse (Version for Java Developers) here for your appropriate processor architecture. Unpack the file and execute inside the unpacked folder.

If you are running Mountain Lion and get a system message that “Eclipse can not be executed because the developer is not verified”, unlock the App by starting a Terminal window and typing the following command:

xattr -d /Applications/eclipse/

Of course, you have to change the path to your custom location.

When Eclipse is started for the first time, it will ask you for a “workspace location”. This is a folder on your hard disk where your projects and files that are edited in Eclipse are stored. Choose an appropriate location of your choice and select “use this as default and do not ask again“.


On the first start, a welcome screen will appear, which you can simply close.

Installing TeXlipse (Option A – via Eclipse Marketplace)

To install the LaTeX plugin for Eclipse named TeXlipse, you simply go to Help -> Eclipse Marketplace.


Wait until the list is loaded and type texlipse into the search field. TeXlipse will be listed as first option in the list. Click the Install button.


In the following dialog, click¬†Next, read and accept the license and then click¬†Finish. If you get a security warning saying that “you are trying to install software with unsigned content”, click¬†OK. After the installation you’ll be asked to restart Eclipse, which you confirm with¬†Yes.

Installing TeXlipse (Option B – Update Site)

If for some reason the menu item Eclipse Marketplace is missing, you can also install TeXlipse via Help -> Install new Software. In that case, you need to provide an Update Site, which is

Configuring TeXlipse

After the successful installation, TeXlipse needs some configuration. Therefore, go to Eclipse -> Preferences (Shortcut: Cmd + ,).


In the preferences, go to TeXlipse -> Builder Settings. Here the paths to the MacTex binaries have to be set.

To set all paths simultaneously, click on the Browse… button and choose your LaTeX executable folder. On my system (64 bit), the path is


On 32 bit systems, the path should be similar to


After the path is selected, hit the Apply button. Now almost all executable paths should be configured (see screenshot).


Next, you have to configure a PDF viewer. Go to TeXlipse -> Viewer settings -> New… and add the values shown in the screenshot (Name: open, Command: /user/bin/open, Arguments: %file).


Move your configuration up in the list.


Creating a LaTeX project

To create your first LaTeX project, right click inside the Package Explorer (on the left) and choose New -> Project… and in the dialog select TeXlipse -> LaTeX Project. On the next screen, enter a project name and the language code and choose the output format¬†pdf. The builds commands should automatically switch to¬†pdflatex. The¬†article template is a good starting point.


When you click Finish, Eclipse will ask you if the LaTeX perspective should be opened, which you confirm with Yes.

Building the PDF

To build the PDF, simply make changes to a .tex file and save it. Eclipse will automatically trigger a PDF build on every document save action. You can view the output in the console (located at the bottom of the IDE by default). To view the PDF, use the shortcut Cmd + 4. If everything went fine, you should see a simple PDF file:

10_pdfNow you are ready to write great papers with LaTeX. Enjoy ūüôā