(This is somewhat late, but I haven't seen any mention of it.)

A little while ago (before February, I think), TeXdoc.net changed their URL structure. Before, the link to the TeX WEB documentation looked like this:


So it basically mirrors the TeX directory structure.

Now that URL redirects to https://texdoc.org/missing.html, which I suppose is their 404 page.

The correct link is


I haven't done extensive testing, but it appears that the segment after serve is more or less what you would look up, and the number selects one of the results you get. For example, searching for tex yields tex.pdf as the first result, and the second is the documentation for a package called mensa-tex; the link for mensa-tex is indeed https://texdoc.org/serve/tex/1.

In any case, all existing TeXdoc links from before the change, or at least all of the ones that I have encountered, are now broken. Tell your friends? I know that it is commonly assumed that everyone here has a TeX distribution ready; however, TeXdoc is quite handy if you are on a mobile device or if it is simply not feasible for you to have TeXdoc and all the documentation installed (e.g., if you don't have a lot of disk space). Some of the documents are available in PDF form from CTAN, as an alternative, but others are not.

I admit that this isn't a question. It's also not a real issue: There is neither a problem with this site nor anything wrong with TeXdoc's new design, per se. (Although I can't help but feel that both URL structures could be supported.) Since TeXdoc is probably rarely used by most contributers here (I could be wrong), the change might not have been noticed. If/when there has been a mass link breaking in the past, either on TeX.SE or elsewhere in the network, what has happened?

2 Answers 2


The original TeXdoc.net site showed the link syntax on top of the start page (screenshot from old status on archive.org)

TeXdoc homepage

The plan was to have an easy to remember link to package documentation but especially some comfort in forums: if I click a package name, it directly brings me to the manual, with that standard syntax, so I don't need that full path. It would have been better to hide the full path since it may change over time within the TeX Live distribution.

Who used the official link, has still a working link, even with the WEB documentation mentioned in the question: https://texdoc.net/pkg/tex.pdf still works and is redirected to that TeX document on TeXdoc.org from the question. Such links don't need a fix.

TeXdoc.org keeps the syntax (similar to ctan.org/pkg/packagename) and adds another syntax. The specific file path is now hidden to not result in broken links if people would use a full path URL.

With the help of Ben Frank I made a redirection: every old deeplink link to a pdf file on texdoc.net is redirected to a texdoc.org query for that pdf.

Test links:

All should be redirected to https://texdoc.org/serve/<name.pdf>/0.

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    It's unfortunate that links have been broken; now we have to go and search all places where we might have used them, including other sites where posts can no longer be edited. Would it be possible to make these old links work again? You have a point about using the "official" link, but typically one simply copies the link from the address bar after redirection, ending up with links like texdoc.net/texmf-dist/doc/generic/knuth/tex/tex.pdf . IMO it's good web etiquette not to break links and I think the lesson for me is to avoid texdoc.net links in future, as they're likely to break. :-( Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 22:12
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    Looks like many of the posts are mine and while I can edit the posts on this site, I'm sure I've used similar links elsewhere, and now I feel like a fool for choosing texdoc.net instead of CTAN or web.archive.org links. Please consider setting up redirects from the old URLs (per the other answer, looks like there are 737 posts on this site alone) to the working links. Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 22:17
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    61 messages on chat, too. Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 22:23
  • @ShreevatsaR Is there even a decent alternative "permalink" for a PDF of the TeX program (on a website that's affiliated with TeX or CTAN)? ... And just after I wrote that, I found this very convenient subdirectory on CTAN.
    – texdr.aft
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 6:44
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    @texdr.aft Yes, this knuth-pdf on CTAN is new, great work by Andreas Scherer. It has only existed for a week now, but I hope to use it in future (if I ever need to). Even on CTAN, I try to copy the "mirror" link (e.g. mirrors.ctan.org/info/knuth-pdf/tex/tex.pdf instead of say mirror.las.iastate.edu/tex-archive/info/knuth-pdf/tex/tex.pdf or whatever), but in some cases (maybe not for PDF files) some of those mirrors result in a file download instead of the file opening in the browser. Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 7:12
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    @ShreevatsaR I set up a redirection because I got positive feedback.
    – Stefan Kottwitz Mod
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 9:02
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    Thank you! I was very upset at the time, because from this answer at the time I had somehow got the impression that the breakage was not considered a problem and would not be fixed... Thank you very much for fixing it! Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 13:36

Not a definitive answer, but here is some information / additional questions about this topic.

Stack Exchange staff has a tool to mass update broken links, which (unlike manual edits) doesn't bump the posts to the front page. Here is a recent example. Once it's clear which replacements need to be made, one of the ♦ moderators can ping a staff member for this. It only works if the update is a straightforward substitution; it can't determine what number should follow after https://texdoc.org/serve/tex/ by itself. Given the information in @StefanKottwitz's answer, here is an example how such a substitution could work.

I was wondering: how many (different) broken links are we talking about here? You can search for posts which contain certain links with the url: parameter. Searching for url:texdoc.net/texmf-dist/doc/generic/knuth/tex/tex.pdf gives only 29 results but I assume that's not the only broken link. On the other hand, some texdoc.net links are still working, e.g. http://texdoc.net/pkg/tcolorbox#page=135 from this post still works. Perhaps it's everything starting with http://texdoc.net/texmf-dist/? That would be 737 posts.

I have a script which is specialized in repairing broken links (and images; you might have seen it in action here already). It can also just analyze the links and list them in order of frequency, as to determine the next course of action.

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    I suspect this doesn't work on links in comments. What is the best way to deal with those? Even finding them is not straightforward. Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 16:16
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    @barbarabeeton 454 hits for texdoc.net/texmf-dist/ – of course we can't edit them.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 16:25
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    Thanks for that. If a link in a comment is important enough, a new comment can be entered and the old one deleted. (I have a dead link that I feel should be corrected, so thanks for showing how to find it. Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 16:31
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    I suppose that the replacement could be determined manually for the most common links (for example, if the link to tex.pdf happens to be the most often-cited URL, then it gets changed into the current, working one, but those that appear only once are left alone). I don't know how feasible this actually is, though.
    – texdr.aft
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 17:00
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    @texdr.aft Please see my updated answer. For previously tested links a full browser refresh (deleting cache, restart) might be needed if a browser remembers a former redirection.
    – Stefan Kottwitz Mod
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 9:51

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