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2.6 CTAN: the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network

The Comprehensive TeX Archive Network, CTAN, is the TeX and LaTeX community’s repository of free material. It is a set of Internet sites around the world that offer material related to LaTeX for download. Visit CTAN on the web at

This material is organized into packages, discrete bundles that typically offer some coherent functionality and are maintained by one person or a small number of people. For instance, many publishers have a package that allows authors to format papers to that publisher’s specifications.

In addition to the massive holdings, the web site offers features such as search by name or by functionality.

CTAN is not a single site, but instead is a set of sites. One of the sites is the core. This site actively manages the material, for instance, by accepting uploads of new or updated packages. It is hosted by the German TeX group DANTE e.V. Other sites around the world help out by mirroring, that is, automatically syncing their collections with the core site and then in turn making their copies publicly available. This gives users close to their location better access and relieves the load on the core site. The list of mirrors is at

Unofficial LaTeX2e reference manual