How to Install Arara with SumatraPDF Support

Arara is a cross platform build system written in Java. It is intended for use with TeX and various derivatives thereof, but can really be used for any build process. I’m using it to help write my dissertation in XeLaTeX. Installation is a little bit of a pain on Windows, so here are some notes to ease the process.

First, download the Arara package from CTAN. After unizipping, copy the contents of arara/scripts to a directory on your path, and/or add the directory with the arara.jar file to your path. For instance, I copied the files in that folder to C:\Program Files (x86)\Arara and added that folder to my PATH variable. Then, add a batch file named arara.bat to the same folder where arara.jar exists with the following contents:

@echo off
java -jar "%~dp0\arara.jar" %*

Now, typing arara at a command window should print the Arara help. Next, we have to add a custom rule to enable SumatraPDF support. Create a file in your home directory (C:\Users\<username>\) called araraconfig.yaml with the following content:

- <arara> @{userhome}\arara\rules

Then, create the directory C:\Users\<username>\arara\rules and in it, create two files, sumatrapdf.yaml and sumatra.bat. The content of these files comes from the TeX.SX answer of Mr Komandez

# SumatraPDF rule for arara
# Author: Mr Komandez
identifier: sumatrapdf
name: SumatraPDF
- <arara> C:\Users\<username>\arara\rules\sumatra.bat "@{getBasename(file)}.pdf" "@{options}"
- identifier: options
  flag: <arara> @{parameters.options}
START /b "C:\Progra~2\SumatraPDF\SumatraPDF.exe" %1 -reuse-instance %2

Then, to have Notepad++ able to compile the XeLaTeX document and automatically open the PDF, put in the top of your .tex file:

% arara: xelatex: { synctex: on shell: off }
% arara: sumatrapdf

Next, download the NPPExec plugin from, and copy the .dll file to the plugins folder in your Notepad++ installation. Press F6 to open the Execute dialog, and put in that box

  arara.bat $(NAME_PART)

Save the script with a name, then go to the menubar, Plugins -> NppExec -> Advanced Options… Under ‘Menu item’, choose the script we just created above, and click ‘Add/Modify’. Restart Notepad++ if prompted. This allows us to assign shortcut keys through Settings -> Shortcut Mapper, then find the tab called “Plugins”, find the name of the script, click “Modify” and add a keyboard shortcut.

Forward search can be enabled by setting up another NppExec script, this one a one-liner (for formatting purposes, its on two lines here but make sure its all one in the NppExec dialog).

  NPP_RUN "C:\Program Files (x86)\SumatraPDF\SumatraPDF.exe" -reuse-instance \
  $(NAME_PART).pdf -forward-search $(NAME_PART).tex $(CURRENT_LINE)

Then go through the same procedure to set a keyboard shortcut. I’m using Ctrl+Shift+F5.