ctanify man page

ctanify — Prepare a package for upload to CTAN


ctanify [--pkgname=string] [--[no]auto] [--tdsonly=filespec ...] [--[no]unixify] [--[no]skip] [--tdsdir=dirname ...] [--tex=macro_pkg] [--[no]miscify] filespec[=dirname] ...

ctanify [--help]

ctanify [--version]


ctanify is intended for developers who have a LaTeX package that they want to distribute via the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN).  Given a list of filenames, ctanify creates a tarball (a .tar.gz file) with the files laid out in CTAN's preferred structure.  The tarball additionally contains a ZIP (.zip) file with copies of all files laid out in the standard TeX Directory Structure (TDS), which facilitates inclusion of the package in the TeX Live distribution.


ctanify accepts the following command-line options:

-h, --help

Output basic usage information and exit.

-V, --version

Output ctanify's version number and exit.

-p string, --pkgname=string

Specify explicitly a package name.  Normally, ctanify uses the base name of the first .ins or .sty file listed as the package name. The package name forms the base name of the tarball that ctanify produces.


Do not automatically add files to the tarball.  Normally, ctanify automatically includes all files mentioned in a .ins file.

-t filespec, --tdsonly=filespec

Specify a subset of the files named on the command line to include only in the TDS ZIP file, not in the CTAN package directory. Wildcards are allowed (quoted if necessary), and --tdsonly can be used multiple times on the same command line.

At least one filename must be specified on the command line. ctanify automatically places files in the TDS tree based on their extension, but this can be overridden by specifying explicitly a target TDS directory using the form filespec=dirname.  Wildcards are allowed for the filespec (quoted if necessary).

Additional Options

The following options are unlikely to be necessary in ordinary usage. They are provided for special circumstances that may arise.

-d dirname, --tdsdir=dirname

Instead of creating a tarball for CTAN, merely create the package TDS tree rooted in directory dirname.

-T macro_pkg, --tex=macro_pkg

Assert that the files being packaged for CTAN target a TeX macro package other than LaTeX.  Some common examples of macro_pkg are "generic", "plain", and "context".

-nou, --no-unixify

Store text files unmodified instead of converting their end-of-line character to Unix format (a single linefeed character with no carriage-return character), even though CTAN prefers receiving all files with Unix-format end-of-line characters.

-nok, --no-skip

Force ctanify to include files such as Unix hidden files, Emacs backup files, and version-control metadata files, all of which CTAN dislikes receiving.

-m, --miscify

Rename directories containing a single file to "misc".  (For example, rename "tex/latex/mypackage/mypackage.sty" to "tex/latex/misc/mypackage.sty".)  This was common practice in the past but is now strongly discouraged.


"Failed to copy filename (No such file or directory)"

This message is typically caused by a .ins file that generates filename but that has not already been run through tex or latex to actually produce filename.  ctanify does not automatically run tex or latex; this needs to be done manually by the user.  See "Caveats" for more information.

"Modified filename to use Unix line endings (use --no-unixify to prevent this)"

For consistency, CTAN stores all text files with Unix-style line endings (a single linefeed character with no carriage-return character).  To help in this effort, ctanify automatically replaces non-Unix-style line endings.  The preceding merely message notifies the user that he should not be alarmed to see a different size for filename in the tarball versus the original filename on disk (which ctanify never modifies).  If there's a good reason to preserve the original line endings (and there rarely is), the --no-unixify option can be used to prevent ctanify from altering any files when storing them in the tarball.

"Excluding filename (use --no-skip to force inclusion)"

ctanify normally ignores files--even when specified explicitly on the command line--that CTAN prefers not receiving.  These include files whose names start with "." (Unix hidden files), end in "~" (Emacs automatic backups), or that come from a CVS or .svn directory (version-control metadata files).  If there's a good reason to submit such files to CTAN (and there rarely is), the --no-skip option can be used to prevent ctanify from ignoring them.

"CTAN prefers having only PDF documentation (re: filename)"

Because of the popularity of the PDF format, CTAN wants to have as much documentation as possible distributed in PDF.  The preceding message asks the user to replace any PostScript or DVI documentation with PDF if possible.  (ctanify will still include PostScript and DVI documentation in the tarball; the preceding message is merely a polite request.)

"Not including filename in the TDS tree (unknown extension)"

ctanify places files in the TDS tree based on a table of file extensions.  For example, all .sty files are placed in tex/latex/package-name.  If ctanify does not know where to put a file it does not put it anywhere.  See the last paragraph of "Options" for an explanation of how to specify explicitly a file's target location in the TDS tree.  For common file extensions that happen to be absent from ctanify's table, consider also notifying ctanify's author at the address shown below under "Author".


The Common Case

Normally, all that's needed is to tell ctanify the name of the .ins file (or .sty if the package does not use DocStrip) and the prebuilt documentation, if any:

    $ ctanify mypackage.ins mypackage.pdf README

      490347  mypackage.tar.gz

                  1771  mypackage/README
                 15453  mypackage/mypackage.dtx
                  1957  mypackage/mypackage.ins
                277683  mypackage/mypackage.pdf
                246935  mypackage.tds.zip

                            1771  doc/latex/mypackage/README
                          277683  doc/latex/mypackage/mypackage.pdf
                           15453  source/latex/mypackage/mypackage.dtx
                            1957  source/latex/mypackage/mypackage.ins
                            1725  tex/latex/mypackage/mypackage.sty

ctanify outputs the size in bytes of the resulting tarball, each file within it, and each file within the contained ZIP file.  In the preceding example, notice how ctanify automatically performed all of the following operations:

  • including mypackage.dtx (found by parsing mypackage.ins) in both the mypackage directory and the ZIP file,
  • including mypackage.sty (found by parsing mypackage.ins) in the ZIP file but, because it's a generated file, not in the mypackage directory, and
  • placing all files into appropriate TDS directories (documentation, source, main package) within the ZIP file.

Consider what it would take to manually produce an equivalent mypackage.tar.gz file.  ctanify is definitely a simpler, quicker alternative.

Advanced Usage

ctanify assumes that PostScript files are documentation and therefore stores them under doc/latex/package-name/ in the TDS tree within the ZIP File.  Suppose, however, that a LaTeX package uses a set of PostScript files to control dvips's output.  In this case, ctanify must be told to include those PostScript files in the package directory, not the documentation directory.

    $ ctanify mypackage.ins "mypackage*.ps=tex/latex/mypackage"



ctanify is written in Perl and needs a Perl installation to run.

tar, gzip

ctanify requires the GNU tar and gzip programs to create a compressed tarball (.tar.gz).


ctanify uses a zip program to archive the TDS tree within the main tarball.


ctanify does not invoke tex or latex on its own, e.g., to process a .ins file.  The reason is that ctanify does not know in the general case how to produce all of a package's generated files. It was deemed better to do nothing than to risk overwriting existing .sty (or other) files or to include outdated generated files in the tarball.  In short, before running ctanify you should manually process any .ins files and otherwise generate any files that should be sent to CTAN.

ctanify has been tested only on Linux.  It may work on OS X. I've been told that it works on Windows when run using Cygwin. Volunteers willing to help port ctanify to other platforms are extremely welcome.

See Also

tar(1), zip(1), latex(1), Guidelines for uploading TDS-Packaged materials to CTAN (<http://www.ctan.org/TDS-guidelines>), A Directory Structure for TeX Files (<http://tug.org/tds/>),


Scott Pakin, scott+ctify@pakin.org


2016-02-01 v1.8.2