Suggested feature: Portable document archive

Simon Heisterkamp simon at
Fri Dec 27 21:35:24 CET 2019

Hi all,
I'm new here. Please excuse any breach of etiquette.

I'm the author of the MikteX feature suggestion 424:
reproduced below in full for your convenience. My proposal is to do the
same for texlive and I would like a discussion about how people would feel
about such a feature. I am open to contributing to the effort but would
likely need substantial support from experience developers of tex-live.

Thoughts, comments?

Best wishes and happy holidays,

Full text of MikteX feature suggestion 424:

The MS Word .docx format is actually a zip archive with xml files and
folders for resources such as pictures. The idea here is to do the same for
.tex sources.
Call the archive something like .pta (portable Tex archive), and support
creating, opening editing and typesetting this file directly from MikTeX
(and tex-live).

Proposed properties:

   - a zip archive with all sources necessary to typeset a TeX document.
   - renamed to something other than .zip to discourage non-technical users
   from editing directly. Suggestion: .pta
   - MikTeX (and tex-live) support for working with this file directly.
   (like MS Word works with .docx archives) In particular guarantee that the
   archive can always be typeset again after moving and copying to another
   installation of MikTeX (and tex-live).
   - Use a somewhat strict structure for names and locations inside the
   archive. This will simplify development of the feature. Unsupported uses
   can always fall back to ordinary .tex source files.
   - a “make-file” (inside the archive) for standardized typesetting with
   one click - no setup required at all by users who only want to make minor
   changes to a document.
   - archive can contain non-standard dependencies, i.e. packages,
   pictures, styles.
   - archive can contain the typeset pdf document. Costs extra size file,
   but gains accessibility. This makes it very easy to write “viewer”
   applications for every conceivable system out there - they simply pull the
   pdf out of the archive.

Use cases:

   - non-technical persons are comfortable with a document being one file.
   - file can be copied and moved around while maintaining a guarantee that
   it can be typeset when needed.
   - this could greatly assist in spreading the use of latex outside of
   technical academic fields.

Aspects that need more thought:

   - when editing creates typesetting errors, the archive could maintain a
   "last successfully typeset" pdf for the viewers, alternatively it could
   present a "corrupted" pdf file. Another approach could be to forbid saving
   to the archive format if the document cannot be typeset.

Feel free to use and share this idea however you want. I don’t have the
time to develop this myself, but would love to use the feature at the
engineering company where I work.

Best regards,
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the tex-live mailing list