I'll have to write some papers for the university written in German, in which my grammar and spelling is somewhat terrible. Now, my girlfriend is very good at that. How can she proofread and modify my paper without having to learn latex or to see all the latex code?

  • In my experience you should always proof-read the print-out – and even then you’ll be overlooking maybe 10 % of the mistakes. But if you need her for modifying the text anyway, the situation is of course somewhat different.
    – Debilski
    Dec 11, 2009 at 16:42

5 Answers 5


The easiest way would be to create a PDF or a print-out, and just let your girlfriend make notes and comments on that, then make her mark-ups.

My preferred option would be to just let her use the original LaTeX file, and tell her to ignore the LaTeX code, though (and point out what \:u means).

  • 1
    printing out is the easiest Dec 11, 2009 at 15:48
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    Yep, along with a red pen. Let the slaughter begin :)
    – Rook
    Dec 11, 2009 at 16:01
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    In \documentclass[final]{article} try replacing final, with draft. This should give you an empty line between each line. Really nice for printouts when it's an early draft and you think your language needs a lot of corrections.
    – fjut
    Mar 9, 2010 at 12:33
  • @Midday: Annotating PDFs works, but I try to avoid this, because of the risk that changes get forgotten or messed up. If you want to do this, several software packages (e.g., Adobe Acrobat) allow you to put notes directly on the PDF, and Synctex (mactex-wiki.tug.org/wiki/index.php?title=SyncTeX), currently stable opnly on OSX, but it'll be coming to Linux and Windows Real Soon Now, allows you to move directly between the PDF notes and the Latex source, reducing the risk of problems. Jun 30, 2010 at 8:41

You could import the LaTeX file into LyX, to edit the document without learning LaTeX. LyX can then output a new LaTeX file. But I've not tried this, and the LyX wiki warns that it may not be 100% successful.

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    Lyx has good change tracking facilities. If you've kept the text apart from the markup, your girlfriend should not have any difficulties with her proof reading, the risk is that the back and forth will put unwanted "boxing" around Latex macros, but you should be able to repair this by looking at the original side-by-side with the resulting code. The key is that LyX doesn't need to be able to run latex for you to edit the source. I've had good experiences with this. May 31, 2010 at 11:24

If she's going to be modifying it herself, she's got to be able to working on the actual source. In my experience, LaTeX is not usually so markup-heavy as to be unreadable for those who don't know it. Ask her to read what looks like text for the paper, and ignore all the funny \foo{bar} stuff.


You can simply load the Latex source into Word, and ask your girlfriend to ignore the non-text paragraphs. You'll need to explain some Latex conventions to her, such as around hyphens and special characters, and probably also tags like \cite, but these are pretty straightforward.

Word's Track Changes is pretty good. You can go through her changes using that, and then save the checked document as plain text, and run this through Latex.

I've used this with several clients, and it works well.

You can also do this with OpenOffice Writer, although Writer's Track Changes facility is clunkier than Word's.


PDF-XChange Viewer is be able to enrich a pdf document with markups and comments, even in the freely available version. So, if she wants to read the document at the PC, this tool could be helpful.

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