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I'm looking for a tool that makes it easy to write LaTeX on the Mac. I heard that the there are excellent tools available for the Mac? Which one can you recommend and why?

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vim! (Ignoring the separate issue of a good LaTeX distribution) –  Captain Segfault Dec 3 '09 at 0:26

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I was just about to do this on my os x laptop soon. This is what I have found and heard about:

Obtaining TeXShop and TeX Live The MacTeX Working Group from the Tex User Group (TUG) constructed an install package which installs everything needed to run TeX on Mac OS X in one step. This package is free, and uses Apple's standard installer; installation takes four to eight minutes and is automatic. The package installs TeX Live, the complete reference edition of TeX produced in cooperation by TeX User Groups across the world. It also installs several GUI utilities for TeX including TeXShop, so it is not necessary to get the front end separately. Everything is completely configured and ready to use once the installer finishes its job.

MacTeX is a large download, over a gigabyte. To obtain it, click on the following link: http://mirror.ctan.org/systems/mac/mactex/MacTeX.mpkg.zip

http://www.uoregon.edu/~koch/texshop/obtaining.html (For information to get MacTex which should include almost everything needed) This is large download.

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Definitely agree that a MacTex base is the way to go, no matter what else you use to make you latex life easier. –  DaveParillo Dec 3 '09 at 0:29

I would recommend TextMate as the best text editor on the Mac. It has wonderful file handling support, great shortcuts, snippets with definable entities within them that can be tabbed between, a set of great colour schemes and wonderful editing bundles. It comes with ones already for things like C, Java, Python, LaTeX, and Subversion.

This page shows some good instructions for setting it up with Fink.

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A very easy tool, especially if you are new to LaTex is Lyx. It's available as a binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9 and later. It's is arguably the easiest to use, the downside is that while it is 'LatTex aware', the files it saves are in it's own LyX format, which may be a show stopper for you. Your best bet is to use MacTex as the base LaTeX. It's huge, even for a LaTex version, but it works and installs easily.

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I recommend a combination of DaveParillo's and Steven Hepting's answers. I agree with DaveParillo about MacTeX. It is probably the best way to get LaTeX installed on your system. It's basically TeX Live, which is much better supported these days than teTeX. You can get the entire install or a minimal install of it. Among other things, it also includes the venerable XeTeX system, which allows you to access system fonts easily and select a multitude of font features. Take a look at the XeTeX examples available at TUG.

As mentioned by Steven Hepting, TextMate is definitely the best text editor for OS X. To see its LaTeX features, take a look at the two screencasts hosted on the MacroMates website (scroll to the very bottom of that page).

Unfortunately, as a new user, I could only post one hyperlink, so I had to be quite choosy and decided that the screencasts list for TextMate was probably the best one as you will see how to very quickly become productive with its shortcuts.

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GNU Emacs works well. Here's the plugin for it:

http://aquamacs.org/

And here are some good tips for using it:

http://aquamacs.org/latex.shtml

Of course, this assumes that you have the nerd-cred to use a basic text editor :)

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