Manually Installing Latex Packages On Miktex Without Internet Access

Getting Packages Without Internet Access

When working on a computer without internet access, installing additional LaTeX packages in MiKTeX can be challenging. However, with some preparation on a separate internet-connected machine and file transfers, it is possible to manually install packages offline.

The key is to first locate the specific package files you need and download them onto a different computer that does have internet access. Typically these files use the .sty extension for LaTeX style files and .cls for class files. Sources include CTAN, package creator sites, or included on LaTeX distributions like TeX Live.

Finding Package Files to Install

Determining which package files you need will depend on the type of document you are trying to compile LaTeX on the offline computer. Check the LaTeX errors when compiling or simply search CTAN or other sources for packages that provide necessary functionality.

Some common examples include:

  • Graphics, diagram, and image packages like TikZ, PGF, graphicx
  • Table generation packages like tabularx, multirow
  • Formatting packages like titlesec, geometry, fancyhdr
  • Bibliography and citation packages such as biblatex, natbib
  • Math packages like amsmath, amssymb, mathtools

Make sure to locate the exact files that provide the sty or cls implementations. For some packages, there may be multiple file options available, so download the relevant ones.

Downloading Packages on Another Computer

With internet access on a separate computer, download the determined LaTeX package files from online sources like CTAN or package creator sites. Usually these can be directly downloaded as individual files or entire package folders.

Keep track of each file's name and location saved on the computer. Some examples of places to download packages from include:

  • CTAN - Find package and download .sty, .cls files
  • TeX Live packages - Download individually or entire texmf folders
  • Overleaf packages - Download as individual or zipped bundle

Make sure to only collect the files that will be directly needed so the transfer in the next step is simpler. Avoid excess documentation and file clutter.

Transferring Package Files to Offline Computer

With the required LaTeX packages downloaded as individual files or a collected folder, transfer them from the internet-connected computer to the target offline computer needing package installs.

File transfer can be done in a variety of ways depending on physical access between computers:

  • USB flash drive or external hard drive
  • Network file copying or file share transfer
  • Cloud storage uploading and downloading

The key is to directly copy the full file structure with all sub folders if transferring an entire package folder, or just the individual files themselves. Keep the same file names and folder structure.

Have the files easily accessible for reference in the next package installation phase.

Installing Packages in MiKTeX

With the needed LaTeX package files now available on the offline MiKTeX computer, they can be manually installed and integrated so they are recognized and usable.

The two main methods for manual offline package installs are:

  1. Using the MiKTeX Package Manager interface
  2. Manually moving files into the right texmf folder tree

Using the Package Manager

If opening the MiKTeX Package Manager (Admin mode), under the Packages tab there is an option to "Add" packages manually by pointing to the downloaded folder or files.

Use the file browser to select the entire package folder or individual files and add them. This will automatically move and install them into the MiKTeX file structure.

Properly installed packages will then show up under the "Installed" tab and are ready for document compilation.

Manually Installing Packages

Without using the Package Manager, LaTeX packages can be manually copied and integrated by moving the files into the proper texmf folder structure location.

This will mimic a normal CTAN package install to the correct places MiKTeX expects files to exist.

For example, on a Windows MiKTeX install, files would go under directories like:

  • C:\Program Files\MiKTeX\{version}\tex\latex\{package}\
  • C:\Users\{user}\AppData\Local\MiKTeX\{version}\tex\latex\{package}\

The key folders are tex\latex for packages and tex\fonts for fonts.

The folder structure inside would also match original packages, for example:

TikZ/           # Package folder
  pgf/          # Subfolder 
  tikz.sty      # Main package file

Refresh the MiKTeX file name database after adding packages by running:

initexmf --update-fndb

This will allow MiKTeX to recognize the file structure.

Verifying Successful Installation

To confirm LaTeX packages are properly manually installed on the offline MiKTeX computer, verify the system can recognize them.

Check steps:

  1. Open a command prompt and run "mpm --list" to show installed packages
  2. Alternatively open MiKTeX Package Manager and view under "Installed" tab
  3. Compile a LaTeX document that calls or loads installed packages
  4. No file not found or package not recognize errors should occur

Debug any issues where packages show unavailable or not found based on incorrect file copy locations or texmf integration.

Troubleshooting Issues

Some common troubleshooting steps if having issues getting manually installed LaTeX packages to work properly:

  • Double check all package files were transferred and exist in the right MiKTeX texmf folders
  • Verify file name case, Sty vs. sty extensions, and match original names
  • Remove any existing partially installed packages possible conflicting
  • Rerun miktex-fname database refresh command to detect files
  • Fully reboot computer system to clear caches and reload paths
  • Manually test loading problem package outside of document body

Additional MiKTeX debugging can help identify folder or file issues accessing packages.

Overall manually installing LaTeX packages without internet requires carefully getting exact files, transferring without changes, placing in correct MiKTeX file structure, and testing compilation functional before use in documents.

Example Code for Manual Package Installs

Below shows examples of code snippets for manually installing and calling common LaTeX packages on an offline MiKTeX system:

Install Code

> mpm --install-package=graphics/graphicx

> copy graphics/*.sty c:\LocalTeXFiles\tex\latex\graphics
> copy tikz/*.sty c:\LocalTeXFiles\tex\latex\tikz
> copy fancyhdr/*.sty c:\LocalTeXFiles\tex\latex\fancyhdr 

> initexmf --update-fndb

Document Code


\usepackage{graphicx} % Image inclusion
\usepackage{tikz} % Diagrams and graphics
\usepackage{fancyhdr} % Custom headers

My article with extra packages!

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