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Best Latex Editor?

  1. Dec 11, 2016 #41
    Even after trying TeXstudio I prefer the following approach. I use a text editor (Notetab) and use my own set of macros to format equations, rather than type Latex syntax. I preprocess the text file using a fairly simple Perl script which translates my original file into Latex before I run it through MikTex. This sort of job is not difficult using Perl, which excels in text processing.

    The advantage for me is that I only need to remember one simple macro language, which suits me because I created it. I don't need to type Latex code. I also don't need to spend time learning the features of yet another program. The same applies to generating files for Gnuplot, etc. In cases where my script is not generating the right Latex code, then I might use TeXstudio for debugging purposes.

    This approach is quite flexible. For example, suppose you want to produce a document where the equations are formatted in a different syntax than Latex? Simply add a new macro processor which targets a different syntax.

    I don't necessarily recommend this particular approach for anyone else, but I do recommend learning some Perl for any of your text processing needs. An interesting note: Perl has been widely used in bioinformatics where they deal with lots of information in character string form, namely biological sequences of DNA and proteins
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  2. Dec 14, 2016 #42
    LaTeX support on Atom editor is pretty decent. You might want to check out plugins developed by the community. These include compilation, syntax-highlight, auto-completion, table of contents view, internal pdf viewer etc.
  3. Jul 5, 2017 #43
    For writing reports I would recommend TexStudio. and for articles and other than reports and books I would recommend Latexila on Linux. Latexila is a very lightweight and user friendly latex editor. I used it for many years until something strange happened with it and it wouldn't run auto completion anymore. I wouldn't recommend Eclipse if you don't do anything else but latex writting neither netbeans or Emacs.
  4. Apr 1, 2018 #44


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    I switched from Texmaker to Emacs/AUCTeX several years ago and never looked back. (Someone already mentioned AUCTeX a couple of pages ago but I noticed the link is now broken.) If you don't use Emacs then here's a screenshot I made showing what getting work done in Emacs can look like:

  5. Apr 1, 2018 #45
    I've been using Texmaker and notepadqq (compile from cli). For simpler things, Texmaker has all the bells and whistles I need.
  6. Apr 2, 2018 #46


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    I would modify my previous post. If you just want to get off the ground running, you can't do better than Overleaf. The only problem with it, which I've been after them for years to correct, is no Save As... feature, which I find rather annoying. However, it gives you vim keybindings, and automatic windowing, two incredible features. Plus, no installation! Everything's in the cloud.

    When you get a bit more serious, and you're working on longer files, and find their compile times too long, then I'd switch to TeXstudio (any platform), and either MiKTeX on Windows, or TeX Live on Linux. The only feature this setup doesn't have is vim keybindings.
  7. Apr 2, 2018 #47


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    Er, why? I've never used LaTeX on Windows so I can't comment on it, but for people who happen to already be using one of the popular Linux distributions, getting a basic LaTeX environment set up is trivial. E.g., on Ubuntu, type something like
    Code (Text):
    sudo apt install texlive texstudio
    into a terminal (or use the graphical software installer), give your password when it asks, then start TeXstudio and start using it. (You can also type "texlive-full" instead of "texlive". This takes much longer to install but it can save you from having to install extra LaTeX packages later on.)

    I guess different people will have different preferences, but I'm pretty sure even if I had never used LaTeX before I would much prefer this over having to create yet another account on some company's website.

    Concerning the editor/IDE: there are lots of them and people can recommend different ones, but of course the real answer to the question "Best Latex Editor?" is "whatever you are comfortable with". Beginners/casual users can use a simple text editor (like gedit) or one of the various IDE-like editors (Texmaker, Texstudio, Kile, Latexila, etc.) that give you buttons to click on and menu options for doing common things. For a beginner or someone who isn't going to use LaTeX much, I don't think it makes very much difference. Casual users who want to get most of the benefit/typesetting quality of LaTeX without actually writing LaTeX can also use LyX, which offers an interface that looks more like a word processor.

    Emacs/AUCTeX, which I mentioned in my previous post, is capable and extensible and suitable for people who are in it for the long haul. (Emacs can be programmed to do pretty much anything. The standard installation includes a Tetris game for example.) It is not suitable for a casual user (even less than Vim) since it requires some configuration in order to use and of course you need to learn the default keybindings or take the time to change them if you have a strong opinion about them.

    Vi keybindings are not going to matter to people who are not already familiar with one of the various Vi-descended editors. However, if you like Vi keybindings then some editors (other than the Vi descendents themselves) can use them. I know at least Kile has a Vi input mode. Emacs can also be configured to use the Vi keybindings (see Viper Mode and Evil).
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  8. May 6, 2018 #48
    I've used TeXstudio for a while and it seems OK. At least I have no major complaints. The main issue I had was how to format mathematics, including which packages to use. But that's a Latex issue, not specifically a TeXstudio issue. Sometimes it takes some work to track down a useful package. For example, I was looking for a package that makes it easy to set up polynomial division, which no doubt is a favorite topic among school children. There is actually one called "polynom."

    Another irritation was how to install packages that are not part of the standard set, but are just out there as .sty files. A bit more browsing and I came across the answer, which involves a few easy but non-obvious steps.

    Concerning the typesetting of mathematics, what I did to make life easier was to gather examples of all the math typesetting I need into one big file so I can cut and paste. I thought at first of writing some fancy macros, but then I decided to keep things simple, and I'm happy.

    I recommend TikZ for diagrams etc.

    We're tech people so we need graphs, right? What about Gnuplot? I've used it, but if I can format a graph using TikZ, it does seem to blend with the rest of the document in a very nice way. Here I found it easier at times to have a separate little script to generate data and simpler TikZ instructions, than to rely on some complicated TikZ formula.

    Finally, and please don't laugh at me, the truth is that now that I know my way around Latex enough to do the job, I have reverted to Emacs as my editor of choice. Right now I'm using Portacle. But I still use TeXstudio when it's helpful, such as in debugging.
  9. May 6, 2018 #49
    p.s. I eventually changed my mind and used TeXstudio after all -- see my newer comments.
  10. May 17, 2018 at 1:47 PM #50
    Jupyter! also known as Iron Python notebooks.
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