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?

  • Try flagging the mods; nobody else has that much rep either :) Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 19:39
  • Tagged it, but can't edit out your tagging request.
    – pgs
    Commented Jul 20, 2009 at 13:01
  • I edited out your paragraph, but I had to change the title because the length requirement was increased since then. :) Commented Oct 4, 2010 at 19:07
  • 1
    Both the questions of editors and guides have been covered extensively on the TeX Stackexchange. Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 13:36

13 Answers 13


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
    Commented Jul 16, 2009 at 12:47
  • 2
    +1 for name-dropping. I'm a proficient vi user myself, maybe I'll delve into emacs a little.
    – ninegrid
    Commented Jul 16, 2009 at 20:22
  • And I can use VIPER for Vi bindings in Emacs. Sold.
    – ninegrid
    Commented Jul 16, 2009 at 20:45
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    You should also mention that RefTeX is the best thing ever
    – Seamus
    Commented May 6, 2010 at 12:54
  • Also Leslie Lamport, author of LaTeX, uses Emacs and supplied to AUCTeX the descriptions of error messages.
    – giordano
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 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. Commented Jul 20, 2009 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. Commented Jul 20, 2009 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
    Commented Jan 31, 2010 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
    Commented Aug 24, 2009 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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