What's the best LaTeX editor you've used, and what would you recommend someone read to understand and become proficient with authoring papers/books in LaTeX?

closed as not constructive by slhck Jul 31 '12 at 14:50

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  • Try flagging the mods; nobody else has that much rep either :) – Lucas Jones Jul 15 '09 at 19:39
  • Tagged it, but can't edit out your tagging request. – pgs Jul 20 '09 at 13:01
  • I edited out your paragraph, but I had to change the title because the length requirement was increased since then. :) – Sasha Chedygov Oct 4 '10 at 19:07
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    Both the questions of editors and guides have been covered extensively on the TeX Stackexchange. – Matthew Leingang Jan 14 '11 at 13:36

13 Answers 13

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Emacs has excellent support for LaTeX. Look for the AUCTeX package. I never got the hang of LyX admittedly, but maybe it has improved since I last tried it.

And just to brag a little I have seen Donald Knuth using Emacs with my very own eyes:-)

  • 7
    Post flagged for bragging ;) – moshen Jul 16 '09 at 12:47
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    +1 for name-dropping. I'm a proficient vi user myself, maybe I'll delve into emacs a little. – ninegrid Jul 16 '09 at 20:22
  • And I can use VIPER for Vi bindings in Emacs. Sold. – ninegrid Jul 16 '09 at 20:45
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    You should also mention that RefTeX is the best thing ever – Seamus May 6 '10 at 12:54
  • Also Leslie Lamport, author of LaTeX, uses Emacs and supplied to AUCTeX the descriptions of error messages. – giordano Mar 8 '17 at 21:52

For my latest work I used TeXnicCenter. It is pretty powerful, but also a bit complex to understand in the beginning ...

I recommend beginner to start with LyX as it is close to being a WYSIWYG editor for LaTeX (it's actually WYSIWYM). It's quite friendly runs on Linux/Unix, Windows, and Mac OS X so it can serve pretty much anybody.

A more advance version is LEd (LaTeX Editor) but this one is Windows Only.

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    LyX is NOT a WYSIWYG editor, it is a WYSIWYM editor. – Stefan Thyberg Jul 20 '09 at 14:26
  • Thank you Stefan for the comment on WYSIWYM. I've corrected the post to reflect what I meant and included reference to it. – Pierre-Luc Simard Jul 20 '09 at 16:28

If you are a programmer and use Eclipse, there is an Eclipse plugin that you can use to edit files. However, you need something like mikTeX to produce a PDF or PS file.

On Mac OS X, I use TextMate with its LaTex Bundle, and Skim as a PDF reader. On Windows, WinShell is a pretty good editor.

I use MacVim on Mac OS X and a makefile to create the pdf.

While Lyx is a nice WYSIWYG editor, if you want to learn latex I would say use a text editor with syntax highlighting or something like TexShop, which is made for tex editing.

  • worth mentioning - OSX only – webwesen Jan 31 '10 at 16:20

To make a start: you can use the Lyx editor and look at some online guides such as Tobi Oetiker's The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e followed later by books that address specific requirements (Maths, science, graphics).

As confidence increases: Move to either an editor you already use and are comfortable with (e.g. emacs with the auctex extensions or vim/gvim with the latexsuite extensions) or a cross-platform editor such as TeXworks.

Useful texts at that stage can include: Kopka & Daly (2003), Guide to LaTeX (4th edn)

Mittelbach & Goosens (2004), The LaTeX Companion (2nd edn)

but you may also want something more 'practical' such as Kottwitz's LaTeX Beginner's Guide.

Samples from users in the same field or producing similar documents are also very helpful, as are their recommendations for books and on-line tutorials.

Before much longer you'll want to have a look at the original and classic book by Knuth: The TeXbook

I really like Kile.

The newest version (2.1) written for KDE4 has some issues at the moment but the KDE3.5 version (2.0) is rock solid. The integration with KDE is very good, the main editing environment being katepart.

The most impressive feature for me is the ability to preview selected text or the current environment in a tab in the editor window. There is also good auto-complete support and easy to use symbol lists.

  • Love kile too, with all the automagic functionality. – sybreon Aug 24 '09 at 12:12

I feel like I should give WinEdt a mention; I used it to write up my master's dissertation. It's Windows only, and it's not WYSIWY{G,M}, but it's got lots and lots of features specifically for working with LaTeX.

It's shareware, and I've managed to lose my licence, but if I had to do any LaTeX work on Windows again, I would buy another copy in an instant.

I second all the plugs for LyX. For ease and simplicity, it's great. But I had trouble configuring it to do some things: adjusting spacing between itemize items, etc. I always ended up tinkering with the TeX source in a separate editor.

For editing TeX directly, I use Texmaker, which is basic but has a lot of nice features, such as one-click rendering.

I use Vim and it works.

Inlage is a very modern LaTeX software with Windows7 tablet pc support. It has an intelligent autocompletion for many commands and symbols with descriptions, spellchecker, office table import, docking system, report window...

It's very easy to handle, e.g. setting up SumatraPDF with inverse/forwards should be not a problem for LaTeX beginners and takes not much time.

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