Frequently Asked Question List for TeX


What is CTAN?

The acronym stands for “Comprehensive TeX Archive Network”, which more-or-less specifies what it’s for:

The basic framework was developed by a TUG working group set up to resolve the (then existing) requirement for users to know on which archive site a particular package might be found.

Actual implementation offers three distinct types of host:

Note that there is nothing to prevent any archive from supporting other functions, so a CTAN mirror may also operate as a CPAN (Perl) mirror and as a SourceForge (general free software) mirror, and …

Functions carried out by the core archive are:

Users may make direct contact with the CTAN management team.

Users should ordinarily download material from CTAN via the archive selector: this uses the mirror monitor’s database, and uses the caller’s geographical location to offer an efficient choice of “sufficiently up-to-date” mirror site for you to connect to. This procedure has the advantage of distributing the load on CTAN mirrors.

FAQ ID: Q-ctan
Last updated: 2018-05-27