PDF Engines


Pandoc supports the use of a wide range of TeX distributions and PDF compilation engines including pdflatex, xelatex, lualatex, tectonic, and latexmk.

While you can employ whatever toolchain you like for LaTeX compilation, we strongly recommend the use of TinyTeX, which is a distribution of TeX Live that provides a reasonably sized initial download (~100 MB) that includes the 200 or so most commonly used TeX packages for Pandoc documents.

We also recommend the use of Quarto’s built in PDF compilation engine, which among other things performs automatic installation of any missing TeX packages.

Installing TeX

To install TinyTeX, use the following command:

quarto install tinytex

TinyTeX is not installed to the system PATH so will not affect other applications that use TeX. If you want to use TinyTeX with other applications, add the --update-path flag when installing (this will add TinyTex to the system path):

quarto install tinytex --update-path

If you already have another installation of TeX that you prefer to use with Quarto, add the latex-tinytex: false in your project or document front matter to prevent Quarto from using its internal version.

If you prefer TeX Live, you can find instructions for installing it here: https://tug.org/texlive/.

Note that Quarto’s automatic installation of missing TeX packages will work for TinyTeX and TeX Live, but not for other TeX distributions (as it relies on TeX Live’s tlmgr command).

Managing TeX

In addition to installing TinyTeX, you may also update or remove the installation of TinyTex. To see the currently installed version of TinyTex, use the command:

quarto list tools

which will provide a list of available tools, the installed versions, and the latest available version:

[✓] Inspecting tools

Tool         Status            Installed     Latest
chromium     Not installed     ---           869685
tinytex      Up to date        v2022.10      v2022.10

To update to the latest version, use the command:

quarto update tinytex

which will download and install the latest version of TinyTex (following the same behavior as described for installing TinyTex above).

To remove TinyTex altogether, use the command:

quarto uninstall tinytex

Each year in April, TeXlive updates their remote package repository to the new year’s version of TeX. When this happens, previous year installations of TeX will not be able to download and install packages from the remote repository. When this happens, you may see an error like:

Your TexLive version is not updated enough to connect to the remote repository and download packages. Please update your installation of TexLive or TinyTex.

When this happens, you can use quarto update tinytex to download and install an updated version of tinytex.

Quarto PDF Engine

Quarto’s built-in PDF compilation engine handles running LaTeX multiple times to resolve index and bibliography entries, and also performs automatic LaTeX package installation. This section describes customizing the built-in engine (see the Alternate PDF Engines section below for docs on using other engines).

PDF Compilation

The following options are available for customizing PDF compilation:

Option Description
latex-min-runs Number (minimum number of compilation passes)
latex-max-runs Number (maximum number of compilation passes)
latex-clean Boolean (clean intermediates after compilation, defaults to true)
latex-output-dir String (output directory for intermediates and PDF)
latex-makeindex String (program to use for makeindex)
latex-makeindex-opts Array (options for makeindexprogram)

Package Installation

The following options are available for customizing automatic package installation:

Option Description
latex-auto-install Boolean (enable/disable automatic package installation)
latex-tlmgr-opts Array (options for tlmgr)

Alternate PDF Engines

You can use the pdf-engine and pdf-engine-opts to control the PDF engine that Quarto uses to compile the LaTeX output into a PDF. For example:

title: "My Document"
pdf-engine: lualatex
  - '--no-shell-escape'
  - '--halt-on-error'

The above example will use the lualatex PDF engine with some specific options, rather than the default xelatex.


Quarto includes a built-in Latexmk engine, which will run the pdf-engine more than once to generate your PDF (for example, if you are using cross references or a bibliography). In addition, this engine will detect and attempt to install missing packages, fonts, or commands if TeX Live is available.

You can disable Quarto’s built-in Latexmk engine by setting the latex-auto-mk option to false. For example:

title: "My Document"
latex-auto-mk: false

Engine options can still be set using pdf-engine-opts. For example:

latex-auto-mk: false
pdf-engine: latexmk
  - '-auxdir=custom-aux'
  - '-emulate-aux-dir'

The above example will use latexmk as a PDF engine and set some options to modify the directory name for auxiliary files.